Horror films have become the most preferred in Kollywood as atleast one film releases under the genre each month. While most of the mix up comedy with the horror genre, there are few films coming up as genuine horror flicks. ‘Kalam’ directed by debutant Robert.S.Raj and written by Subish Chandran falls under that rare category of horror films. The film with predominant new comers or less known actors has managed to create a positive buzz with its impressive trailer. Let’s see what the film has in store.
A rogue businessman (Madhusudhan Rao) keeps grabbing lands and properties through illegal means. He acquires a Zamindar bungalow by transferring it to his name through fraudulent means’ He gives it for his son Gautham (Amzath) and his wife (Priya) Lakshmi Priya and their daughter who return to India from US to stay here.
The couple get some horror experiences at the house. An artist (Pooja) who visits the house tells that there is a presence of a spirit of a Zamindar scion, who has committed suicide at the house and cautions Priya to be careful. The couple seek the help of an exorcist Nakulan (Shrini) to get rid of the ghost .
The rest of the film deals with what happens to Gautham and his family.
The film starts with a very deep introduction to each characters and their background. The first 20 minutes or so has been taken to establish Madusudhan Rao’s character and his strained relationship with his son who is against his father’s way of doing business. The film deliberately moves in an extremely slow pace.
Even the depiction of the presence of a spirit and the scenes intended to create horror follow the formulaic route and they hardly make any impact. Both the halves predominantly consists of such uninteresting horror scenes with oft-repeated ideas which hardly serve the purpose of horrifying us and misreably fail to even sustain our interest.
But the last twenty minutes of the film that comes with a superb twist and an interesting idea behind that comes up as a surprising huge relief. After the real truth is revealed we could somehow feel that the film should have been a really good plot on paper which has failed in transformation as a film.
We also feel that the plot or this idea is not enough to sustain a film with the running length of an hour and 45 minutes. As a result, many scenes and the extremely slow narration seem to be a deliberate attempt to drag the length of the film. May be this plot in its present form, would have been enough for a good short film or a tele-film with a running time of 45-60 minutes.
To make it a watchable full length feature film, the writer should have strengthened the script with few more dimensions to the story. a few more ideas and a some good/different scenes. May be they could have at least allocated more time to establish the characters behind the ghostly experiences haunting the house.
There are also some logical questions left unanswered in the way the twist is revealed but that is not a big botheration.
Technically the film is top notch. Cinematographer Mukesh.G impresses with the perfect lighting, tones and angles. The night scenes are captured really well. Art direction by Senthil Kumar is another big plus. The appreciable Art work includes the setting of the house, the memorials of the dead and the elements used to invoke horror . Rerecording by Prakash Nikki is apt in other scenes while it is formulaic in horror scenes.
Amzath is convincing in his role. His acting is particularly appreciable when he expresses guilt for his wife and daughter being affected by his father’s sins. Lakhmi Priya gives a realistic portrayal of a young high-class house wife who is basically kind and innocent. Shrini who comes in the second half as the exorcist has something more than that to offer and his overall performance is commendable. Pooja is adequate in her role while Madhu Sudhan Rao is as menacing as usual in a baddie character. Nasser’s character comes as a cameo appearance when the twist unfurls and the veteran makes an impact with the couple of scenes he gets to enact.