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Friday, July 10, 2020

Game Over review: A patchy affair

There are a couple of genuinely scary moments, but the rest of it is too stretched: even the 102 minute run time feels too long, with not enough thrills or chills.

Rating: 1.5 out of 5
Written by Shubhra Gupta | New Delhi | Updated: June 14, 2019 12:15:01 pm
game over review Game Over movie review: Taapsee Pannu has worked hard, and there are a couple of genuinely scary moments.

Game Over movie cast: Taapsee Pannu, Vinodini Vaidyanathan, Sanchana Natrajan, Ramya Subramanian, Anish Kuruvilla
Game Over movie director: Ashwin Saravanan
Game Over movie rating: One and half stars

What would you do if you have been left petrified of the dark after a traumatic incident? Game Over builds swiftly up to its main act, which has the broken-in-spirit Swapna (Pannu) trying to re-build her courage, using her work as distraction, and her affectionate house-help Kalamma (Vaidyanathan) as constant companion.

The prelude has a string of gruesome murders, and the victims are all nubile young women. So we know that sooner vs later, Swapna will be the target: no surprises there.

The job of films which coast on this trope – terror-struck young women being stalked and attacked in a closed house—is to bung in enough shockers to keep us on the edge. That doesn’t happen, so the game is never really on.

We’ve seen Pannu grow as an actor in her past few films (Manmarziyaan, Mulk). Here she is pretty much in the centre of the frame practically the entire time, and her performance shifts between only two registers – distressed and terrified—with no other variation. Within minutes, the film turns flat.

The writing is flabby, key sequences get repetitive, the threads which are woven in the plot are weakly dealt with: a tattoo and the tattooist plays a part, as does a grieving mother, but at no point do these elements feel meshed in. Worse, the reveal comes too early, and the suspense leaches out.

Also, we are left with too many niggling questions: why are Swapna’s domestic arrangements the way they are? Who are the bad guys? Why do they do what they do? Even those slasher-without-a-cause grislies that Hollywood churns so frequently, manage a certain rhythm, which this disjointed film doesn’t achieve. Is this a horror/ supernatural or killers-on-a-spree flick? There’s confusion, and we are confounded.

The other problem is the Hindi dubbing (the film is made in Telugu/Tamil), and in too many places the lines seem out of sync.

There are a couple of genuinely scary moments, but the rest of it is too stretched: even the 102 minute run time feels too long, with not enough thrills or chills.

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