Directed By: Karthik Subbaraj
Written By: Karthik Subbaraj
Vijay Sethupathi– Michael Karthikeyan
Remya Nambeesan – Anu Michael
Aadukalam Naren – Sanmugam
Jayakumar – Srinath
Bobby Simha – Bobby
Pooja Ramachandran – Smitha
Language: Tamil Genre: Suspense; Supernatural-Thriller
The film opens with the story of a group of ghostbusters who go into a haunted house to investigate the claims made by the locals. That sets the stage for the film because the ‘haunted house’ becomes the central motif of the film. This ghostbusters experience is actually a television programme being watched by a nervy pizza delivery guy Michael (Vijay Sethupathi) and his parapsychologist-in-the-making girlfriend Anu (Remya Nambeesan).
His life seems almost yawningly normal till he goes to deliver pizza to a house – and everything goes awry.
Dead bodies that appear and disappear, phone calls that register on a mobile phone but are answered on the landline and the pizza seems steadily eaten. The entire film takes a nightmarish turn when least expected.
The story has a claustrophobic quality that really trips a viewer but just when you have taken certain aspects of the narrative as definite, suddenly the very narrative is questionable. Does Michael really have a girlfriend? Are there parallels between what happens in the house and to his life? Is his boss Sanmugam (Aadukalam Naren)’s daughter being haunted by the child ghost from that house? Or is Michael schizophrenic?
The concept of an ordinary drama becoming a claustrophobic horror story – psychological narrative – leading up to an anti-climatic conclusion is well thought out. It is an interesting study on how fear influences and can be used to manipulate people.
It does not have the usual trappings of an Indian film, there are no dance sequences that take away from the main narrative except for the occasional song that plays in the background or takes the story forward.
However, in certain places the sequences were needlessly drawn out, especially in the house and that begins to labour the point.
The ordinariness of the setting is really interesting and it reiterates the point made in the 1993 Malayalam cult film Manichitrathazhu (which was set in an old palace but was simplistic otherwise) that elaborate sets and over the top special effects are not required to give that jolt to viewers.