Vanam Movie Review: This horror thriller neither scares nor thrills
A couple of interesting ideas aren't enough to save this weakly-written film
When a film has reincarnation as its central theme, a mirror that shows the previous birth of people and an underlying supernatural murder mystery, one would ideally expect it to result in a highly entertaining film. But sadly this one doesn't due to its rudderless writing and underwhelming staging.
Vanam gets a satisfying start. The initial few minutes of the film and the premise it sets are fairly engaging. A series of deaths occur in a boys hostel room for reasons unknown and the lead Magizh (Vetri) tries to unravel the mystery, with his childhood love Jasmine (Smruthi Venkat). Director Srikandan succeeds in setting the mood for a thriller right. But what is built with the conflict, goes tumbling down when the quest of the hero to find the pieces of the missing puzzle begins. The logic goes for a long vacation and bizarre things begin to happen.
Cast: Vetri, Smruthi Venkat, Vela Ramamurthy, Azhagam Perumal, Anu Sithara
Director: Srikandan Anandh
He stumbles upon a book, that narrates the life of a perverted Jamindar, who was equally fascinated by women's noserings and reincarnation, (Yes! You read that right) and believes that the hostel murders have a strong link to this story. Why? We aren't really sure because the hero says, "Enaku samandham iruku nu thonudhu," several times and that's pretty much it. This biography is a hand-written script with illustrations and most importantly it is left incomplete. "Why was it left incomplete?" "How did an incomplete, unfinished biography find its way to a library?" "Why wasn't it published?" The more you think about it, the more doubts you get. But we don't have answers as the film doesn't address these too.
The morality of Vanam is also quite debatable as youngsters intoxicating themselves and having a consensual intimate moment with their girlfriends are termed sinners and made to suffer for it. I understand that the former is a legal offence, but I couldn't wrap my head around why the latter is seen as indespicable.
Apart from being a suspense thriller, Vanam is also a horror film, which is aimed at sending chills down your spine. But the tropes are so old that you start predicting the placement of the jump scares.
Ron Ethan Yohann's music is perhaps the only memorable effort in this forgettable outing. His background scores are so good that one would wish that it was reserved for a better film.
On the whole, Vanam aims to deliver us the thrill, excitement and dread of a jungle safari but ends up making us feel blindfolded, directionless in a forest.