Aval movie cast: Siddharth, Andrea Jeremiah, Anisha Angelina Victor
Aval movie director: Milind Rau
Aval movie rating: Four stars
The advent of horror comedies has seemingly reduced the interest in filmmakers in the south Indian industry to make a full-length horror film that could make audience cower in their seats biting their nails while trying to look away from the screens. An honest terror-inducing film from the rarely explored horror genre in Tamil cinema had been long overdue. And Aval is here to fill that void.
Director Milind Rau and actor Siddharth, who has also co-written Aval, has whipped up a bold and smart horror film that grabs you by your throat and retains its firm grip until the end. The suffering of two families haunted by ghosts and the people who try to help them is set in the backdrop of beautiful landscapes of Himachal Pradesh and it’s 2017. The seed for the story was sowed during the 1930s.
Dr Krishna (Siddharth), a successful brain surgeon and his beautiful wife Lakshmi (Andrea Jeremiah), live peacefully in their beautiful house under the mountains. Their perfect life together is now disturbed after a family moves into the house next door.
Jennifer (Anisha Angelina Victor) is a troubled teenager and neighbour of Krishna and Lakshmi. Losing her mother at the young age, she has turned out to a rebel. While she doesn’t despise her caring stepmother, she never misses a chance to throw tantrums at her either. But, she loves her stepsister Sara.
Jennifer’s rebellious nature makes her do things like smoking for example. During one such time when she sneaks out of the house for a smoke, she picks up some belongings of a dead person. And a series of paranormal incidents abound that affects the lives of the people around her. Jennifer’s new house is haunted by ancient spirits, and one of them is bloodthirsty. Aval is not just a conventional humans vs devil narration. It has an angle of good spirits vs bad spirits and how the living suffer as they are jammed between this supernatural tug-of-war.
The sleek presentation of the film gives us shock, horror, fear and even makes us feel nauseous. The filmmakers have gone all the way with a sole purpose to terrify the audience.
The onscreen romance between the lead couple (Siddharth and Andrea) is bold and refreshing. Anisha has let her hair down while playing the girl possessed by a spirit. Atul Kulkarni’s character is gentlemanly and at the same time creepy. Sample this: When his wife suggests vacating the haunted house, he gets irritated as his life’s investment is at stake. But, instead of boosting his male-ego, like usually what happens in films patronizing patriarchy, where the man makes his wife bend according to his will. Atul’s character requests his wife to give one more chance to him and their new house. But, the same night, he walks into his maid’s room without knocking first. He doesn’t harbour ill-intentions. But, it is still creepy, though.
Well, you may ask was the film flawless? Maybe not. But, I don’t remember the errors as Aval constantly manipulated my feelings and kept me in shock for the most part of the narration. Judging by the standards of horror films made in the Tamil film industry, Aval has set a new benchmark. It doesn’t unwantedly exploit religious beliefs or use sub-standard special effects or melodrama, which are the popular tools that are used to compensate the filmmakers’ inability to come up with a tightly-written horror script.
Aval will test your immunity to horror films even though it won’t make you lose control of your bladder. Bear that in mind while buying your ticket.