It was enough to make my head spin for a while (even so, I'm pumped to see it again).
Another memorable scene is the Shakespearian rehearsal. Mike really lets loose with the improv, but due to his inability to stretch his mouth to, say, Gerard Butler levels, he ends up lisping a lot (that must've been one spit-soaked set!), which makes the scene even more entertaining. Man, it reminded me of Bill the cat from Bloom County in all his "thpppppt!" vocabulary.
As for the much talked-about third act, I didn't really find it out of place, let alone out of left field (or at least a lot less so than the afore-mentioned excursion with Molinee Green). The ending of it all could've been better, though. Another thing I felt was that the gay character was too obviously so from the second he appeared. It seemed to be a stereotype out of a sketch from SNL or something. This would've been fine in Higgy & Puffs territory, but this otherwise accomplished drama demanded a bit more depth. And the scenes between his wife and her lover could've done with a bit more heat (especially in comparison to the first - and only - sex scene in the film), it was hard to imagine why these two would've got together. I could've also done without the excruciating songs, but maybe that was Mike's way of poking fun of those 'swishy' singer/songwriters of the mushy/romantic variety. And finally, a technical gaff: what's with the shadow of the boom mike where the two women are walking along the street? Surely, somebody must've noticed it? !?
Those minor criticisms aside, this is a solid piece of work from Mike Fredianelli, and I hope to see even better stuff from him in the future.
Anyway, let's move on beyond the script. There are some technical flaws, but one can overlook those as it was obviously shot on the cheap, using digital cameras. Still, the interior of the van at night was way over-lit, which could've been remedied without much hassle. The look of the film is fine, enhanced by a ubiquitous wide-angle lens. The acting by the young cast of protagonists isn't anything to write home about, either, but then they didn't really have good material to work with. What Khan does get right is an atmosphere of creepiness, and what he excels in is the level of violence and gore in the film. Yes sir, he really lets loose with the red stuff. Gore hounds won't have much to complain about here. And since that seems to have been the focus of Khan's energies, it may have been a wise decision to keep the running time short (78min approx), because clearly, the 'exposition' scenes were not going to keep audience interest levels up. Another nice touch is the soundtrack which is littered with retro Lollywood music. A clip from Zinda Lash (The Living Corpse) makes an appearance and the actor who played the vampire in that film, Rehan, is also featured in a bit part, where he hams it up hilariously.
So if like me, you go into the film with low expectations, you're likely to enjoy it for what it is: a gory, lurid and fast-paced pastiche of better known horror films, made by fans and for fans (with the novelty value of being a Pakistani gore film really, how many of those do you see around?). If, however, you want something more substantial than that, you might be let down. Me, I had a pretty good time. Here's hoping Khan's next project improves upon his debut.
Speaking of which, the missus was amazed when she realized I wasn't watching a mainstream film, but a film made by AND starring my friend Mike from San Jose! She hadn't recognized him, and was incredulous when she found out. The next evening, her cousin came over, and he was made to see this film on her insistence. More guffaws, more laughter, and more amazement followed. Mike, you've got one more admirer on your list now. And we intend to show this film around some more.
Kudos to all involved, even to the guy playing Daddy Don Guido, who didn't seem to be all there. Excellent production values also, considering the budget (or lack thereof). Oh, and this is probably the first WD film that doesn't warrant subtitles (nice clear audio). The bar has been raised yet again by WD, and it ain't gonna be easy topping it. But that don't mean you shouldn't try. As the guy says: "Think positive, man!"
Gone is the goofy professor that narrated & hosted the first film, replaced by a middle-aged guy and a young blonde reading aloud 'dear Collette' letters and answering them. Remarkably, the girl looks a lot like the currently active porn- star Jeanie Rivers. Overall, this is decent soft-core erotica.
The film is briskly-paced, and fills in the back-story via 'flashbacks' (except there is no indication of when the flashback begins or ends, thus adding to the mystery). The cinematography is very pleasing, the shots are really well- composed, etc. The music is also very nice, and the soundtrack even includes parts of Pink Floyd and Deep Purple songs (which I like). The actors are uniformly good, and the 'mysterious' heroine is played by a strikingly beautiful actress, whom I wouldn't mind seeing more of. However, the mystery is slight and not all that hard to fathom, so the story remains just mildly interesting and doesn't really feature any surprises or twists or shocks, as such. Still, it is a pleasant enough distraction for an evening, and at 75 minutes, doesn't seem to outstay its welcome.
An entrepreneur asks his assistant to go to a hillside area and acquire some land for building a hotel. The assistant is led astray by the corrupt contractor- builder, who convinces him that they can make a huge profit if they build the hotel over an old Christian cemetery. They dupe the priest in charge of the cemetery, telling him they need the land for building an orphanage. They also implicate some government officials, by bribing them. In all this manipulation, the contractor-builder guy is helped by his foxy secretary, whose sex appeal is often used to their benefit. When the construction starts, they dig up all the corpses (some very bizarre faces there) and skeletons, and dump them all into a mass grave, marked only by some stones. However, the spirits of the dead are apparently outraged at this desecration, and seek revenge.
Sounds like a perfect setting for a Fulci-style zombie epic, right? Yes, only this is directed by the Ramsay brothers, and the country is India. So while we do get some cool zombie scenes, blood and gore, and creepy atmosphere...we also get 4-6 (I lost count) song-and-dance numbers and cringe-inducing 'comedy relief' that the film could have done well without (except maybe the disco-ish number performed by Ms. Narayan, at the inauguration of the hotel. Or am I just partial to the charms of this under-used Bollywood beauty?).
Still, for the adventurous cult/horror buffs amongst you, this should be reasonably entertaining. As long as you don't go in expecting a typical zombie film, and keep your expectations low...
I would love to see the film again, but it seems it hasn't been widely circulated on DVD, and the R2 disc is hard to find. What a pity.
The camera loves Kreuk, as it should, and surprisingly enough, she gets the physical nuances right. Campbell also gives one of her more subtle performances, but the standout here is Jimi Mistry as the Sikh ex-soldier. The central love story is nothing new (the film seems like a different handling of the loud, crude, jingoistic, and ultimately inferior Indian film Gadar), and no aspect of it covers any new ground. There are some moments of poignancy and warmth, but the director moves the story along with broad strokes, instead of letting it flow and fleshing out the surrounding events. As it stands, it is all quite predictable, and some of the dialogue is atrocious. Many characters (notably Naseem's family) come across as shallow and are simply used as stereotypes, so there goes any complexity that might have been developed.
There are some beautiful shots throughout, and thankfully there are no musical interludes (which would have been likely if the film had been made in Bollywood). The child actor was also good, and I wish we could have seen more of Irrfan Khan than the bit part he plays. The scene where Naseem dances in the rain with only a shirt on, is pure fantasy on the director's part, and nobody kissed that openly back in the 40s and 50s, even married couples. A reality check was in order, Mr. Sarin.
Still, despite the hodge-podge of ideas and unrealistic scenes, the film is watchable, and even moving at times. But it could easily have been much better, and the backdrop of cultural conflict deserves a more in-depth, intelligent handling.
This was not a big-budget affair, and it is therefore quite heartening to see how much they managed to pull off on meager resources. The film retains a lot of Stoker's original plot, despite a contemporary setting, and the inclusion of some silly musical interludes. Some of the direction is er wooden, as is some of the acting. But there are also eerie, suspenseful scenes, and good lighting and set design, evoking a Gothic and creepy atmosphere (in black and white).
There are a couple of odd 'fade-outs' at the most inappropriate moments, but I suspect this was done at the behest of the censor board, who were initially aghast at the mere idea of a local horror film. They only passed the film after the producer-hero and director promised that they'd never ever make such a film again. And sure enough, they never did, despite the film becoming an unexpected hit. Even more surprising is that for an industry steeped in plagiarism, nobody else jumped on the bandwagon, either.
Not really scary (but not suitable for young children, either), the film is nonetheless reasonably engrossing and one of the more unique takes on the familiar tale. Horror and cult fans should definitely check it out.
Too bad a mate pinched my copy of the VHS, as I'd love to revisit this film. Oh, well...maybe I can find the uncut version this time...
Even from a purely technical point of view, it is a remarkably crafted film; from the opening credits sequence to the bizarre desert 'love-in', to the use of billboards, and right down to that jaw-dropping, cathartic finale that used 17 camera set-ups (in it's own way, as powerful as the climax of The Wild Bunch). Also, Antonioni chose one hell of a leading lady with Daria Halperin, one of the most beautiful ever to grace the screen. There isn't much 'acting' involved, as this feels more like a docu-drama, and so the use of non- professionals as the lead couple works quite effectively within that context. And the soundtrack is not only filled with marvelous music, its use is impressive as well (I can't forget the start of the film, mostly due to the selection of music - by Pink Floyd - that grooms the visuals so well).
Contrary to popular opinion, this is quite an achievement in cinema, and one I would enthusiastically recommend to anyone with a taste or tolerance for the off- beat. Well worth seeking out, and one of those key films of the 60s that demands a DVD restoration/release.
Amitabh Bachhan has developed a penchant for playing his roles a bit too stoically in his 'second innings' at the cinema (that and his stupid goatee make it look like he's always playing just another side to the same character), but conveys the feelings and emotions of his character reasonably well. Jiah Khan, the newcomer, does better in a difficult role that is deceptively shrill and tacky, but is actually quite insightfully written if you can see beyond the attitude. What is poorly written is the way the relationship develops between the old man and the sassy nymphet, and the roles of the wife and daughter are also under- written. That is especially a shame in the case of Revathy, as she is such a good actress. There is also an over-reliance on blue filters and panoramic shots of nature, and a general tendency to skirt the seamier or more base aspects of the relationship. In other words, "no sex please, we're Indian". Which is odd, since the director is clearly interested in exploiting (to some degree) the physical attributes of our young heroine, judging from the way he shoots her (to be fair, that dilemma has plagued Indian cinema for ages). He just doesn't seem to have the nerve to go all the way with his desires, which makes for an uneven tone for the film's basic story.
On the plus side, the film is devoid of stupid song and dance numbers (a couple of gentle tunes aside), and does pose some intriguing questions (even if the resolutions provided to some of the problems raised, are a wee bit too pat). An interesting experiment, but with not with enough conviction to follow through to the end, it is only partially successful. From a filmmaker like Ram Gopal Verma, more was expected than is delivered here.
this 56 minute film is a must-see for students of mass media, politics, propaganda, and American history. as per usual with this kind of 'subversive, controversial, potentially damaging' stuff, this film is not widely available. thanks to the wonderful invention called internet (possibly the only area where nobody has any real authority or monopoly on anything), i downloaded this from a site for free. three cheers for the last (relatively) untamed frontier.