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Slasher flick arrives



high on gore Nil, Gavani, Sellathe

Tamil cinema has adopted almost every genre that it could possibly localise to bring newexperiences to the audience. Even the cowboy western had a revival earlier this year. But, so far, the slasher movies have been left untouched. The low-budget horror genre is high on the gore factor and has a sensibility that goes like: “leave your brains behind or we will hack it”. The pleasures are largely visceral.

With Nil, Gavani, Sellathe, the slasher makes an unabashed entry into Tamil screens. Though heavily inspired by some of the successful movies of the genre from Hollywood, it stays true to style and grammar as defined by masters such as Wes Craven and mavericks such as Eli Roth.

Jo (Dhanshika), her fiancé Sam (Anand K Chakravarthy), along with their friends Arun (Ramssy), Milo (Jagan) and Priya (Lakshmi Nair) are a fun-loving group of youngsters who make a road trip to an isolated temple off the Tamil Nadu-Andhra Pradesh Highway. The temple is in an isolated ghost town that was once the site of a mill. Simultaneously, we also get to know that the place has been the spot where several people making road trips have gone missing over the past few years.

A few characters are introduced in the ghost town, but even discussing it would be a spoiler.

The first and possibly the only rule for enjoying such movies is a wilful suspension of disbelief. One does not walk into the “Friday the 13th” series to appreciate some high art. There are no pretensions. You know what is coming. And the acting is tacky. You don't need Al Pacinos or Kamal Hassans to run out screaming and getting ready to splash their guts all over the screen. Besides, a bulk of the cast is debutants.

With Nil, Gavani, Sellathe, one cannot but appreciate the audacious attempt at pulling off the theme. The technicians can pat themselves for a movie that looks and feels almost as good as a thriller. The camera work by J. Laxman is an absolute standout and manages to elevate the heavily-inspired script into something truly watchable. (Much like last year's Eeram, this is proof of just how much visuals play an important part in a horror narrative.) The other standout feature is the art direction by K. T. Karthikeyan. The right props give the ghost town a life of its own.

The music by V. Selvaganesh is good, though the songs merely serve as speed breakers. The background score is eerie right through, setting the mood for the movie. The editing by Madhan Gunadeva is crisp but gets a bit jumpy, especially in the second half, where all the gore is unleashed.

Director Anand K Chakravarthy and his team may have pulled off a minor coup with NGS. It's worth checking out, if you have the stomach for such movies. The best part: the movie is just under two hours of running time.

Genre: Horror/Slasher

Director: Anand K Chakravarthy

Cast: Anand K Chakravarthy, Dhanshika, Azhagam Perumal, Jagan, Ramssy, Lakshmi Nair, Amudhalingam

Storyline: About what happens to a group of fun-loving youngsters who visit a temple in an isolated ghost town.

Bottomline: So do you like scary movies?

KARTHIK SUBRAMANIAN

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