Lovers Ajay and Ranya get married with the help of their friends, but the next morning, Ajay finds the girl dead on the bed. Heartbroken, he approaches a psychic to get in touch with her but his entry into her world only spells doom.
Finally, it looks like horror films in Tamil are coming of age.
is essentially a haunted house thriller but the writers Ashraf and Prabu Yuvaraj (the hero and the director of the film respectively) introduce an element of fantasy that gives it a different colour. And, their treatment isn't kitschy in the least bit and the director whips up a genuine sense of dread (Hollywood horror films
Insidious, Stir Of Echoes
are listed in the titles under filmography). The plot revolves around Ajay, a young man, who finds his lover-wife Ranya, dead on the morning after their marriage. Disillusioned, he seeks the help of a psychic to help him get in touch with Ranya's ghost. However, this misadventure lets loose evil into our world and very soon, frightening things begin to happen at their house. And, there might be no stopping this evil.
is very well done (R Saravanan's camera work is striking) and there are moments that are quite inspired. In an interrogation scene early in the film, in a single shot, we see a different suspect every time the camera moves from the person to the interrogator and back. There is also a niftily-edited scene where the hero walks out of the door of his house to escape and the shot cuts to show us that he has only managed to get back to where he was standing earlier inside house. There is a genuinely unsettling scene where Ajay, who is standing in the middle of a dark hall, follows a strange sound over the stairs and shines a torch at the top only to find someone in his own image staring at him from there! And we have a scene where Ajay wakes up in the morning only to open the curtains of his room and see the moon still shining bright and the sky still dark. He steps out of the house and the road is deserted but he keeps hearing the noise of busy traffic. Ajay's journey into the "fourth dimension" is also filled with nightmarish visuals and we are able to get that he is having an out-of-the-world experience.
There are also some tricks that will be familiar to horror movie buffs — a door that isn't locked but doesn't open, a wardrobe rattles, a child plays ball with invisible person, TV channels change on their own, a phone with no battery or sim card rings, a chair breaks apart by itself and so on. But these don't come across as cliches but as horror movie must-haves. The sound design, while duly sufficient, is not really impressive.
And there are also things that feel insufficient. The brief romantic track is largely lifeless and we hardly care for Ranya's death. The scenes between Ajay's encounters with the paranormal mostly seem like fillers (it is as if the director wanted to give some space for the audience to collect their breath), and the transition between the scenes doesn't feel organic. Especially, Ajay's interactions with the family feel merely functional, and their reactions are inadequate for people who are witnessing the weirdest happenings in their house, and the actors seem a little raw. The film does lack the panache of a
. That was also a sort-of haunted house horror thriller but there, both the minor and major scenes felt important and the characters had actors who made them believable. Still, these niggles can be brushed aside as the inexperience of a first-time filmmaker.
But the major misstep happens towards the end. Realizing that he has put himself in a situation that isn't any different from Ajay's (trying to undo the knots and finding he is back to where he started), the director comes up with a new character in the final moments to reveal one of the mysteries — how and why did Ranya and Ajay's sister die all of a sudden? Even if the reason is somewhat plausible, it seems uncalled for. Once we are told the reason, it takes away a bit of the suspense. The mystery around their deaths would have made the fantasy element in the plot stand out even better.