Renjith Shankar’s movie Pretham, supposedly a horror comedy, keeps you waiting for a twist which never comes. What you get instead is a pretty ordinary climax, which is neither memorable nor scary.
Thanks to Jayasurya’s character John Don Bosco, the movie is engaging in parts though. The actor again proves his versatility as he plays a mind reader who is out to find the truth of a haunted resort. The actor is casual yet restrained and his inspired performance actually reminds one of Mohanlal’s iconic role as a psychiatrist Sunny in the epoch-marking Malayalam movie, Manichitrathazhu.
A sea-side resort run by three carefree youngsters, Benny (Aju Vargheese), Shyam (Sharaffudeen) and Shibu (Govindpadmasurya), forms the backdrop of the film. The trio has quit their boring past to enjoy a relaxed life. Just when the three bachelors think their life is sorted and they only have sun-lit sea view and girls dancing zumba to look forward to, they meet their nemesis — a ghost haunting their resort.
Desperate to find a break, they meet mentalist Don Bosco who offers help. At many points in the movie, the director shows a canny understanding of what the viewer would be thinking. The characters voice what we as viewers are concerned about. For instance, the moment we start believing that the ghost is actually a hoax, a la In Ghost House Inn, Aju’s character is seen expressing the same doubt.
Despite this understanding of his viewers, Renjith fails on one important point — the failure to present anything new. We have seen ghost stories like this time and again where electronic gadgets and night is used to scare people. The climax is a huge let-down, given that the movie works so hard on keeping the surprise element going.
The flow of the movie gets clobbered by some sloppy editing with many shots ending in abrupt cuts. However, Ranjith needs to be credited for capturing the visual ecstasy of sea in its different moods. The director plays on darkness, sound effects and worried faces to build the horror quotient. However, a dead giveaway in the film waters down the whole effect.
Other than some slapstick moments starring Sharafudheen, which felt as an extension of his famous character ‘Girirajan Kozhi’ from the movie Premam, Pretham’s humour is also disappointing. Aju Vargheese is a promising actor who works hard to reinvent and improvise on the roles he is offered, but unfortunately, the actor is on a path of getting stereotyped by doing characters in the same genre time and again. Govind Padmasoorya and Pearley Maney are better off the big screen.
The only think that rescues Pretham is Jayasurya’s performance and some quality camera work.
Disclaimer: “Views expressed by the author are personal.”