Terrifying mind games with Revathy and Shane Nigam on board-Entertainment News, Firstpost

Mental health, the pressures of elder care, alcoholism, drug addiction, a faulty education system, unemployment – ​​Bhoothakaalam addresses all of this and more, but his focus never strays from his goal of terrorizing the public. .

Language: Malayalam

I made the mistake of watching this movie at night when I was the only one awake in the house.

Don’t do this.

Bhoothakaalam is as terrifying as it is intelligent, a horror drama that is impossible to qualify as a psychological thriller or a paranormal thriller. It’s one or the other or both, depending on how you want to see it. Neither the title nor the finale provide a spoonful answer.

Word bhoothakaalam means “the past” or “the past”, but it could also be interpreted as “the age of the spirits”. Make your choice.

The games in this film play out as much in the mind of the viewer as they do in the events on screen, which of course is the case in any good thriller, but in this one more so than most.

Written and directed by Rahul Sadasivan, Bhoothakaalam largely revolves around a mother and son living together in a house in urban Kerala, haunted by a troubled past and current unrest. She, Asha, is a schoolteacher and undergoes treatment for clinical depression. He, Vinu, is a frustrated unemployed graduate.

They love each other but have allowed their stress, resentments and bitterness to fester for years. Soon, disturbing nighttime events in the house further disrupt their existence.

Shane Nigam and Athira Patel in a still from the film

The opening scene of Bhoothakaalam is marked by an eerie stillness during a snapshot of routine life: family members braving the challenges of caring for the elderly and infirm. It is a signifier of what is to come.

The film initially gives the impression that it will follow the conventions of often-visited horror films – loud music, abrupt movements – but make no mistake about it. The framing of the director of photography Shehnad Jalal, the background music of Gopi Sundar and the editing of Shafique Mohamed Ali for Bhoothakaalam are far from formal. Their weapons are drawn from an existing arsenal, but the way they use them is remarkable. Vicky and Kishan’s sound design stands out for its use of silences, which is unusual for an Indian thriller.

With this assemblage of talent at work, the tension in Bhoothakaalam gradually builds up as the narrative builds, and wandering clues as to what could possibly happen are scattered throughout the plot, until the dramatic interval after which the chills build up on the chills, all leading to a relentless, elongated, chilling climax.

Revathy has such mastery of her craft that she makes her fears entirely our fears and doesn’t seem to strain a single extra nerve even when the camera gets so close to her that it seems ready to pierce her skin. It is the great loss of the Malayalam film industry that, despite its apparent progressiveness, it gives so few roles to this wonderful actor due to his preoccupation with men’s stories featuring young women on the fringes.

Unfortunately, even in this film, Revathy’s name is listed second in the end credits after the young male lead, Shane Nigam. Does it have something to do with the fact that Bhoothakaalam is co-produced by its production company or simply comes from the natural tendency to favor male actors over women even in equal roles is an important question.

Bhoothakaalam movie review Terrifying Mind Games with Revathy and Shane Nigam on board

Revathy in an image from the film | Screenshot from a SonyLIV YouTube video

Bhoothakaalam also draws on a cliché of Indian cinema in its treatment of Vinu’s girlfriend Priya (Athira Patel), largely limiting the depiction of their relationship to the length of a single song playing over the visuals of their many interactions. By doing this like so many Indian movies do, she doesn’t bother to give depth to her character’s writing.

Bhoothakaalam does little for Patel. It is, however, a solid addition to Shane’s filmography.

Shane has so far worked in sensational ongoing Malayalam films New New Wave. He was excellent at Kismath, Eeda and Kumbalangi Nights. Here, he confidently matches Revathy, with his fatigue, distress, and pain etched into his face and demeanor.

Mental health, the pressures of elder care, alcoholism, drug addiction, a failing education system, unemployment – Bhoothakaalam tackles all of this and more, leaving us with plenty to think about after the final credit rolls off the screen.

Dwelling extensively on mental health, it does more than most Indian-language films, but it is not as insightful as most Malayalam films these days are on psychiatry and the treatment of mental illnesses. the mind, especially when it does not address irresponsibility. shown by Asha’s doctor (Gilu Joseph) and in its blurring of Saiju Kurup’s character’s area of ​​expertise.

Through it all, BhoothakaalamThe focus never strays from its purpose of terrorizing the audience.

I made the mistake of watching this movie at night when I was the only one awake in the house.

Don’t do this.

Evaluation: 4 (out of 5 stars)

Bhoothakaalam is streaming on SonyLIV

Watch the trailer here

Anna MM Vetticad is an award-winning journalist and author of The Adventures of an Intrepid Film Critic. She specializes in the intersection of cinema with feminist concerns and other sociopolitical concerns. Twitter: @annavetticad, Instagram: @annammvetticad, Facebook: AnnaMMVetticadOfficial

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