“?” – Movie Review
Posted by FATEMA H.KAGALWALA on February 25, 2012 | No Comments
PRODUCER – Percept Pictures
DIRECTOR – Allyson Patel, Yash Dave
CAST – Akhlaque Khan, Yaman Chatwal, Varun Thakur, Chirag Jain, Sonam Mukherjee, Maanvi Gagroo, Kiran Bhatia
Horror is probably the most personal and hence most difficult emotion to evoke in fiction. The point-of-view camera narrative, made popular by films like The Blairwitch Project and the Paranormal Activity series when used imaginatively, provokes a surreal response, at times too close for comfort. ? takes this inherent quality of its chosen style and mixes it with its own uniqueness to serve up a refreshing experimental film.
The film has a sketchy plot, somewhat similar to The Blairwitch Project, the guerrilla hit of the 90’s. Seven friends set out in the jungles for a college assignment, armed with their camera and gear to shoot their short film. But soon enough disaster strikes. Two days later their camera is found and the dead bodies of three among them. The whereabouts of the rest remain a mystery.
The film is shown through the footage captured and hence is shrouded in a mystery from the word go. All that begins casually doesn’t remain so as the atmosphere around the youngsters keeps getting questionable. The film uses sounds, gestures and light techniques to underscore horror and wisely, does away with shocking gimmickry. As unpredictable as the film footage is, the film has the screen flicker off suddenly mid-way, adding a meta experience to its credit.
For a film that borrows its technique from a rather tested territory, it invests enough contextual style to present an original ethos. The youngsters perform with a natural flair using everyday urban language and joke about everyday trends, ranging from popular directors to popular TV serials. The gang keep the banter easy-going and the energy charged right till the suspenseful end. The direction never lets lose of the grip around the interactions and the flow.
It is a small film that has been made on the shoulders of experimental gusto and does its job of horrifying with competence. It may not push the envelope in any way but its verve and competence is a good sign for the fledgling experimental cinema struggling to find its own voice.