Film: 'Eeram'; Director: Arivazagan; Cast: Aadhi, Sindhu Menon, Nandha and Saranya Mohan; Music: Thaman; Rating: ***
Movies on supernatural thrillers are a rarity in Tamil cinema. 'Eeram' is a crime thriller and a horror flick rolled in one. Young director Arivazhagan deserves applause for a script that has an unfamiliar story with interesting twists and turns.
The way the element of water has been used in the script and portrayed through the lens is marvellous.
The movie begins with the death of Ramya (Sindhu Menon) and Vasudevan (Aadhi), a tough cop, takes up the task of investigating the case. Initially it was thought to be a suicide. But Vasu suspects some foul play.
The needle of suspicion falls on Ramya's husband Bala (Nandha) and a few of her neighbours. But subsequent murders in the apartments deepen the mystery. The way the killings take place adds to the confusion and makes the narrative interesting.
A flashback reveals that Vasu was Ramya's lover a few years ago. A determined Vasu goes hammer and tongs to trace the killer. And he is shocked to find out the reason behind her murder.
Arivazhagan has succeeded in sustaining the interest of the audience. The film is technically rich thanks to the cinematography by Manoj Paramahamsa.
The way things unfold in the first half is really good. Arivazhagan handles the mystery and investigation very well, while he deftly incorporates the flashback scenes into the narrative as well.
But the movie slides down when the police officer gets to know everything from an 'unknown' source. This makes the investigation process less interesting. The director goes on to narrate the story for almost one hour to show us how the hero traps the culprit.
When everything has been revealed by the 'unknown source', the suspense element ends and the proceedings look lengthy and tedious.
Adhi impresses while playing the suave cop. Equally impressive is Sindhu Menon. She fits the role of a bubbly young girl in love and later as a timid wife.
Nandha has a different role in this film. The actor, who has until now played a lover-boy, dons the role of character with different shades and he handles it with conviction. Saranya Mohan and Rajasekar also leave a positive impact with their relatively brief appearances.
Thaman, introduced as an actor by Shankar in 'Boys', has scored music for Viveka's lyrics. More than the songs, his re-recording sets up the momentum in the movie.
Despite some flaws, 'Eeram' is a whiff of fresh air in the otherwise commercially cliched Tamil cinema.