A group of friends is on a road trip to attend a reception at a high-range location. They are already late and are perplexed by the unruly driving of local motorists. Their joyous ride is marred intermittently by the rash driving of others. And then they suddenly encounter an 'edge-of-the-cliff' moment, when their car veers off the road in a bid to avoid a collision.
Chuzhal, written and directed by Biju Maani, released on NeeStream is a roller-coaster horror-cum-road movie swinging and swaying the viewers till the title credits roll up. The pace and liveliness is the highlight of the narrative. The characters are just the common youthful folks we meet everyday and their interactions are so original and fun-flavoured that you would love to be part of the group.
The story pans out in a non-linear pattern. Those who pay some extra attention might be able to grab the thrill of the suspense a tad earlier. The high drama unfolds as the group of youngsters find a villa for a night's stay. The caretaker, played by Jaffer Idukki, is a friendly and servile host, who is ever eager to put them at comfort.
Moving away from the conventional horror suspense that is generally tagged with eerie music, spooky and white-robed apparitions, zombies or smoky goblins, Chuzhal pitches a different norm. Rather than horrifying the events excite and ramp up curiosity.
When the narrative shifts to an interlude of hapless misery, we tend to share the pangs of the characters who sustain it.
However, by making the horror scenes bit more horrifying and by curtailing certain lengthy sequences, the movie could have climbed a level higher. Yet, the package has enough fuel to grip you.
The performance of the actors including Jaffer Idukki, R J Nilja, Abin Mary, Sanju Prabhakar, Gazal Ahamed and Sreenath Gopinath; music by Hesham Abdul Wahab, camera of Sajid Nazer that follows the path and emotions of the characters, the sound design to sum up the theme and its thrill all work together to conjure the suspense of the drama.
The movie weaves road rash, youthful vigour, a malady and horror as its salient features and at the same time drives home a point that any one who is behind the wheels on the street must heed to.
(The movie is available on NeeStream)