Chathur Mukham Movie Review: Manju Warrier’s Techno-Horror Drama Is Innovative But Where Is The Horror?
Chathur Mukham shifts the gaze of horror and fear from being limited to ghosts to the things that exist around us
By Shubham Kulkarni -July 9, 2021
Chathur Mukham Movie Review Rating: 2.5/5 Stars (Two and half stars)
Star Cast: Manju Warrier, Sunny Wayne, Alencier and ensemble.
Director: Ranjeet Kamala Sankar and Salil.V
What’s Good: a fresh take at the horror genre where technology becomes the ghost. And Manju Warrier of course!
What’s Bad: when the real ghost enters, and we don’t know where to run. Not because we are scared, but we can’t figure out why this is happening.
Loo Break: You don’t really have to keep the nature’s call waiting. Also there’s a pause button.
Watch or Not?: I would suggest watch. It is a stepping stone in building up a sub-genre within a genre. Someone someday will make a film on the same lines and enthral me, I will make sure I mention the one who initiated that idea, and it’s Chathur Mukham.
Language: Malayalam (with English subtitles)
Available on: Zee5 Premium
User Rating:Rate This
Thejaswini a headstrong girl, is obsessed with her life on social media. She is almost taken over by the world of Internet and there is no escape. When a bizarre incident breaks her phone, she buys a new one, and this is where the problem begins. The phone, in a way, is haunted and what follows is, of course, horrific.
Chathur Mukham Movie Review: Script Analysis
Indian cinema, in its latest run, has majorly exploited the horror genre more than doing any justice to it. The last film unique in its sense and was actually horror, and not the staple ghost jump scare-fest, was Andhaghaaram, also from the South diaspora. Now enters Chathur Mukham.
I am not comparing the two, and Andhaghaaram is way superior in every sense; watch it on Netflix. But what needs to be applauded in Chathur Mukham is the fact that it shifts the gaze of horror and fear from being limited to ghosts to the things that exist around us and we can see, feel, touch for real. A phone becomes the medium, the radiations and several things that run on electricity the weapons and thus enters relatability.
Written by Abhayakumar.K and Anil Kurian, Chathur Mukham for at least 60 percent of its runtime is clever. The film opens up to the man vs machine conflict. How we made them but now they define us and likewise. You very much see yourself in there. Constantly browsing social media, clicking selfies, chatting and various other things. Abhayakumar and Anil use these basic things to create fear. A selfie becomes the countdown to how many more days you will live, the network we all love becomes the transmitter of your killer.
But that does not mean that it all is left on the technical horrors, but there is a real ghost too. And in my opinion, the downfall actually begins when the real ghost enters. The writing stays clever where it does not give air to the common plot points of voodoo, or superstition or some baba popping out of no where. It stays true to its scientific gaze at unnatural elements.
But when the spirit takes over the screenplay, the ‘we have already seen this’ effect kicks in. Ghost planting obstacles, trapping the protagonist in a room, having a back story where conditions took his life, everything becomes so predictable and not at all scary around it that you want the man vs machine conflict to play again.
Problem with lack of depth also haunts Thejaswini’s personal life and her conflict with her family. There is this juicy arc of her differences with her brother, a beautiful relationship with father but hardly explored. Thank god for the choice writers take to keep Thejaswini and Anthony’s relationship the way it is. Full marks.
Chathur Mukham Movie Review: Star Performance
Manju Warrier is technically aging back and forth at the same time. Someone give me the secret potion she has. The actor knows what her job is and does it without a single bone wrong. Thejaswini isn’t damsel in distress, but a warrior and she defines the role just right.
I saw two Sunny Wayne films in a week (Sara’s). He is adorable in this one too and how supportive are his characters. Alencier plays a physics professor and gives a believable performance.
Chathur Mukham Movie Review: Direction, Music
Ranjeet Kamala Sankar and Salil.V take the director’s seats and translate what’s on paper to screen nicely. They do go cliché when family comes in, but not when the conflict is at stake. Abhinandhan Ramanujam’s camera helps the two to create this world as they wish. Amble amount of spooky light, but also the scarcity of it is handled pretty nicely. One can only think of how much thought might have gone into creating the room Thejaswini sleeps in.
Won’t deny it seems Over The Top at one point but it is scary. What the direction fails in is creating fear. I was in sync with the concept, but nothing pushed me on the verge enough that I had to cover my eyes, except when someone’s hand is nailed to the wall and my blood fear kicked in. All in all fear in instalments in a horror flick is a minus.
Chathur Mukham Movie Review: The Last Word
The movie begins with a quote by Thoreau, “Men have become tools of their tools”, that is the best part of the movie. The one where ghost comes in could have been better. Watch Chathur Mukham once and see how new ideas are popping up but need more depth to become full proof.
Chathur Mukham Trailer
Chathur Mukham releases on 09 July, 2021.