Vampire Owl: We have heard a lot about this movie.
Vampire Bat: When we hear too much about a film, it won’t be good.
Vampire Owl: Well, human tastes rarely apply to us.
Vampire Bat: Yet, there have been exceptions from old times.
Vampire Owl: The exceptions have not been really worthy either.
Vampire Bat: There are actually so many movies releasing these days.
Vampire Owl: But we don’t even know most of them.
Vampire Bat: They just come and go as fast as possible.
Vampire Owl: Well, releases used to be more relevant until some time ago.
Vampire Bat: The movies these days mean too less. It has been so quiet.
[Gets a paneer biriyani and three cups of cardamom tea].
What is the movie about? :: Jibi (Soubin Shahir), Rivin (Anantharaman Ajay), Niroop (Sajin Gopu), Shijappan (Abin Bino), Mukesh (Siju Sunny), Karikuttan (Afzal PH) and Soman (Jagadeesh Kumar) are seven youngsters sharing the same house in Bangalore. Most of them don’t have any job, and some among them are not really interested in working at all. The people in the neighbourhood do not like them and consider them to be nuisance. One day, they come across the idea of playing an ouija board by decorating a carroms board to tranform its looks. Even though they feel that it doesn’t work at all, things seem to get supernatural at least within the board, as there seems to be a female spirit named Anamika talking to them. The spirit answers to all their questions, which even brings people from outside to become part of the game. People even get to know things which were unknown to most humans around. It seems that the spirit could even solve mysteries and crimes, which surprises everyone. But things go out of control when it seems that the spirit is capable of more than just being part of the game, and they finally decide to stop playing the ouija board.
So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: But things don’t get any better after the oujia board is destroyed. They bring an acquaintance named Sinu Solomon (Arjun Ashokan) to the house after he had faced a trauma of being kidnapped, but this man seems to be even stranger than the lady spirit. He seems to act strange, and even knows things that he was not supposed to know, even about Anamika. He seems to be stuck at times while doing something or talking to himself during regular intervals which makes everyone feel strange. To add to it, he also talks about human skull soup, much to the dismay and fear of the already scared group of people. They try to bring a common acquaintance to talk to him, but he feels that the problem is with Jiby. Compared to others, Jiby feels that there has never been a spirit in the house, as it was him who started moving the glass on the board, and thinks that someone else might have continued from where he had left. So, is there a chance the spirit is actually something else, or is there something to be afraid of?
The defence of Romancham :: The genre of horror comedy gets the much needed strength with this particular movie. This is the category which hasn’t managed to find a fine footing in Malayalam film industry, and this is a positive move in that direction. The prevailing mystery in this movie never ceases to exist, and we are left to think about the spirit more than anyone in the movie. There is the humour that works, and it is that kind of a comic side which has been used before, but not something that we haven’t seen before, thanks to the premise and the setting at work here. The movie also manages to connect most of the dots really well, and it doesn’t back down when there is chance for some realistic talk to go on in between. It is also that kind of a horror movie which does not require us to think too much about evil that has its claws stretched towards human lives, as it is more focused on letting the audience live through the experience of the main characters who remain different from each other, even with so many common things which seem to run through. The final moments do score well, and leaves scope for guessing for another movie which can also follow.
The claws of flaw :: There was so much to be done with this movie, and a lot more than what was seen on the screen. The horror remains weak throughout this movie, and there is no clear indication of what has happened around here in relation to the spirit – the lady spirit is never really shown around here, and we never really get to see the demonic spirit. The movie also takes too much time to start becoming interesting, as the first forty-five minutes are rather dull with the life of random youth being shown with all the useless elements. It is only when the board gets the focus that things begin to be of significant nature. Then, the movie seems to be getting ready to become something extraordinarily huge, but it never really manages that, as it stays within the limitations instead of breaking free to bring the unlimited doses of anything of the blended genres. Along with the same, I have to say that movies based on Bangalore has worked less for me, and it was the same case with Bangalore Days which was so much appreciated for some reason, which I would never really find out. There could have been more than what meets the eye, but there isn’t, and it is also too long a film.
The performers of the soul :: The movie depends on a list of newcomers to make the desired impact, and the same has been mostly achieved with most of the actors. Among the performers who have a long history, Soubin Shahir is there for the longest time, and he manages to keep things going strong. The next one who is there for more time is Arjun Ashokan, who has his moments, especially with funny side having a spooky addition to it. Chemban Vinod Jose should have been there for more time though, as he seems to be most experienced person who shows the face around here – it remains more or less a cameo-like performance though. Among the new faces, the ones who catch our attention the most are Anantharaman Ajay who plays the decent boy among them all and Sajin Gopu who played the supposed-to-be-brave character. The movie does miss the female cast though, as the only ladies around here are those of no importance to the tale or a spirit which is never revealed in the feminine form. Deepika Siva as a nurse might be the only other female presence on whom the camera is focused for enough time period.
How it finishes :: The movie misses out on the opportunity to have the side of horror up and running along with the comedy, but in the end, it seems clear that this one would not give the genre of horror any advantage in between the comedy. There was a lot to be achieved by this movie, and it only happens to be successful with some of them. It could do better with a sequel, but even without such hope, remains a film of interest. Adi Kapyare Koottamani which had a horror presence in the end with all the comic side is still to have that long awaited sequel, and so we just cannot be sure about another film. The movie might not feel that huge as some of the opinions about it, but the use of the available resources to become effective is to be noted. Making a horror movie work has been more difficult than ever during these days, and such difficulty in display here is managed better during the later stages of the movie. The device at work for the supernatural here is the homemade ouija board out of the carroms board, and it is the innovation that makes one feel the presence of the local ghost even without that woman in white saree.
Release date: 7th April 2023 (Hotstar), 3rd February 2023 (Theatre)
Running time: 129 minutes
Directed by: Jithu Madhavan
Starring: Soubin Shahir, Anantharaman Ajay, Sajin Gopu, Abin Bino, Siju Sunny, Afzal PH, Jagadeesh Kumar, Arjun Ashokan, Joemon Jyothir, Chemban Vinod Jose, Deepika Siva, Sneha Matthew, Asim Jamal, Thankam Mohan, Jolly Chirayath
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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.