Three young people decide to commit suicide and go to a beach house to die, not realizing that a ghost haunts the place...
If there is something Tamil cinema can be proud of in recent times, it is how directors have cracked the code to making horror films that do not just scare but also make you laugh. Hollywood has had horror comedies for a long time but here, it is heartening to see our directors adapting the must-haves of the genre to our culture and lifestyle so that we are emotionally invested in the films.
Darling is actually a remake of the Telugu film,
Prema Katha Chitram
, but debutant director Sam Anton ensures that it works very well in this setting as well. Three youngsters, Kathir (GV Prakash), Nisha (Nikki Galrani) and Kumar (Balasaravanan), go to a beach house with the intention of committing suicide and they are joined by Athisayaraj (Karunaas), one more individual who wants to take away his life. The twist here is that Nisha and Kumaran actually have planned the whole thing to make Kathir give up his plans of killing himself. Nisha actually is in love Kathir and is hoping that he falls in love with her. However, the ghost in the place starts possessing her every time Kathir tries to get close to her. Why it does so and what it wants is the mystery.
The closest comparison to
would be last year's
. As in that film, the ghost here terrifies the other characters but there is no mortal threat. Also, here too, it is the supporting characters who do the heavy-lifting, while the leads largely play it straight. The only misstep here is that while that film managed to keep the ghost's back story light-hearted to go with the tone of the film, this one gives us a serious flashback that somewhat makes us feel guilty for having laughed so much. The Gang rape and slit throats make for queasy viewing. The flashback episodes involving Kathir and Nisha, too, could have been shorter.
While GV Prakash and Nikki Galrani make confident debuts, the film belongs to Balasaravanan and Karunaas. As he did in Thirudan Police, Balasaravanan comes up with witty repartees that crack us up while Karunaas makes a welcome return in a role that plays to his strength; his character acts as if he is in command of the situation and often ends up at the receiving end of the ghost's anger. Then, there is Rajendran, who, too, continues from where he left off in Thirudan Police. Here, he plays Ghost Gopal Varma, an exorcist-type character and the visual gag where he is shown as the Ghost Rider as he makes his entry is inspired. His bald head, thin figure and sandpapery voice make him effective for both villainous and comical roles but from the screams and whistles that his character gets, it is clear that he has made much more impact as a comedian.