Intriguing haunted house mystery with a poignant twist – The New Indian Express

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After exiting the screening of vichithram, I started thinking about the latest Malayalam movie with horror elements which had a startling impact on me. I counted two – Bhoothakalam and Rorschach. Another thing that struck me thinking about these films is what they have in common, most notable being a well-written mother character and her conflicted relationship with her children. There is a mother in vichithram, too – with five sons, all of different qualities and temperaments, to manage. Interestingly, the last two are twins. There might be a reference to the Mahabharata here.

While on twins, the imagery becomes a recurring thing throughout the film – in different ways, a factor that lends richness to the visual aesthetic of vichithram, which makes sense given the presence of a Sapphic love affair at its heart. The film opens with a man putting a stray rabbit back in the cage with his mate. The analogy becomes increasingly obvious later, after a particularly unpleasant incident. The “twins” are also two small birds in a nest sheltered in a relatively much safer space, unlike the cage of rabbits.

But not everything trapped subscribes to dual symbology. There’s a butterfly trapped inside a glass case, and it gets its freedom at a crucial moment in the film. Again, it’s another great display of visual parallels.

I went in vichithram without knowing anything beforehand. I didn’t even watch the trailer, a choice that isn’t always possible when you’re a film journalist. So I was unprepared for what was about to unfold before my eyes. For a while there, I thought it was a family drama because it started like that.

And it takes plenty of time to establish, with plenty of clarity, the trials and tribulations of Jasmine (Jolly Chirayath) and her family — which includes her and her five adult sons — who are going through a difficult time. I liked how the script also clearly followed his connection with an aging and reclusive patriarch, Alexander (Lal), holed up in a grand mansion that bears all the hallmarks of a haunted house. Long story short, the mother and children are forced into a situation where they have to move to this place after Alexander’s unexplained disappearance.

The film is not rushed, another quality that impressed me. Much like it did with the family’s former home, the film takes its time to introduce us to every nook and cranny of the second. There’s room for a little humor too, thanks to Balu Varghese playing an “Instagram celebrity” who creates cringe-worthy content. The character is incredibly boring, but on purpose. Whenever Balu appeared terrified, I remembered Innocent from Manichithrathazhu. The funniest scene – where the brothers end up sleeping in the same room – precedes one of the film’s darkest sequences.

If you ask me if the horror elements outweigh the family moments, I’d say it strikes a nice balance between the two. But, if you, like me, come away feeling like you’ve witnessed a story about people who understood the true meaning of “home” after leaving the place they were born into, then I would say you should run with it. . Like the fantastical Bhoothakalam, the film eschews most of the usual ghost movie cliches. In addition, vichithram shares with this film the belief that you have to do a lot with very little, for example by using shadows to induce fears. Although some beautifully staged scenes gave me chills, I came to realize that the “ghosts” in vichithram are not the type to be afraid but with whom we are supposed to sympathize.

I mentioned earlier the analogous imagery of trapped rabbits and butterflies. Like the exotic butterfly released in the poignant story of two lovers (Kani Kusruti and Ketaki Narayan), the unique narrative treatment of vichithram frees it from all the preconceived notions that usually accompany most Indian horror stories. And as in Rorschach, the film ends with an ambiguous image open to different interpretations.

Film: Vicitram
Director: Achu Vijayan
Cast: Shine Tom Chacko, Balu Varghese, Jolly Chirayath, Kani Kusruti
Evaluation: 4/5

After coming out of the Vichithram screening, I started thinking about the latest Malayalam movie with horror elements which had a startling impact on me. I counted two – Bhoothakalam and Rorschach. Another thing that struck me thinking about these films is what they have in common, most notable being a well-written mother character and her conflicted relationship with her children. There is also a mother in Vichithram – with five sons, all of different qualities and temperaments, to manage. Interestingly, the last two are twins. There might be a reference to the Mahabharata here. About twins, the imagery becomes a recurring thing throughout the film – in different ways, a factor that enriches Vichithram’s visual aesthetic, which makes sense given the presence of a Sapphic love story in his heart. The film opens with a man putting a stray rabbit back in the cage with his mate. The analogy becomes increasingly obvious later, after a particularly unpleasant incident. The “twins” are also two small birds in a nest sheltered in a relatively much safer space, unlike the cage of rabbits. But not everything trapped subscribes to dual symbology. There’s a butterfly trapped inside a glass case, and it gets its freedom at a crucial moment in the film. Again, it’s another great display of visual parallels. I went to Vichithram without knowing anything beforehand. I didn’t even watch the trailer, a choice that isn’t always possible when you’re a film journalist. So I was unprepared for what was about to unfold before my eyes. For a while there, I thought it was a family drama because it started like that. And it takes plenty of time to establish, with plenty of clarity, the trials and tribulations of Jasmine (Jolly Chirayath) and her family — which includes her and her five adult sons — who are going through a difficult time. I liked how the script also clearly followed his connection with an aging and reclusive patriarch, Alexander (Lal), holed up in a grand mansion that bears all the hallmarks of a haunted house. Long story short, the mother and children are forced into a situation where they have to move to this place after Alexander’s unexplained disappearance. The film is not rushed, another quality that impressed me. Much like it did with the family’s former home, the film takes its time to introduce us to every nook and cranny of the second. There’s room for a little humor too, thanks to Balu Varghese playing an “Instagram celebrity” who creates cringe-worthy content. The character is incredibly boring, but on purpose. Whenever Balu appeared terrified, I remembered Innocent from Manichithrathazhu. The funniest scene – where the brothers end up sleeping in the same room – precedes one of the film’s darkest sequences. If you ask me if the horror elements outweigh the family moments, I’d say it strikes a nice balance between the two. But, if you, like me, come away feeling like you’ve witnessed a story about people who understood the true meaning of the word “home” after escaping from the one they were born into, then I would say you should run with it. . Like the fantastical Bhoothakalam, the film eschews most of the usual ghost movie cliches. Additionally, Vichithram shares with this film a belief in doing a lot with very little, such as using shadows to induce scares. Although some of the beautifully staged scenes gave me chills, I’ve come to realize that Vichithram’s “ghosts” aren’t the ones to be afraid of but the ones we’re meant to sympathize with. I mentioned earlier the analogous imagery of trapped rabbits and butterflies. Like the exotic butterfly set free in the harrowing tale of two lovers (Kani Kusruti and Ketaki Narayan), Vichithram’s unique narrative treatment frees him from all the preconceptions that usually accompany most Indian horror stories. And as in Rorschach, the film ends with an ambiguous image open to different interpretations. Film: VicitramDirector: Achu VijayanCast: Shine Tom Chacko, Balu Varghese, Jolly Chirayath, Kani KusrutiNote: 4/5

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Raymond I. Langston