Director Ajay Gnanamuthu’s Demonte Colony is a crisply written, well executed horror thriller that will keep you glued to the screen, says S Saraswathi.
After a slew of romantic comedies, Tamil cinema seems to have turned to horror films for entertainment.
Horror liberally laced with comedy has been the biggest attraction, drawing in the family crowd, making the films instant successes.
However, Ajay Gnanamuthu, a former associate of A R Murgadoss, has chosen to stick to pure horror for his directorial debut, Demonte Colony.
Arulnithi, who was last seen in Chimbu Deven's Oru Kanniyum Moonu Kalavaanikalum, plays the lead.
The film is inspired by real life events centred around a supposedly haunted colony in Chennai called De Monte Colony.
For more than a century, this colony at the heart of the city has been deserted owing to the many strange tales surrounding its tragic past.
The colony is supposed to be haunted by its previous owner, a rich Portuguese businessman by the name of De Monte.
It is believed that De Monte's wife was mentally unstable and his only son died under mysterious circumstances. Director Ajay adds some salt and spice to these incredible rumours to concoct a gripping tale of horror.
One rainy night, after some heavy drinking and fun at a bar, four friends - Srinivasan (Arulnithi), Vimal (Ramesh Thilak), Raghavan, and Sajith - decide to visit the De Monte Colony for some thrills.
The place is dark, deserted and spooky and after some goofing around, the four return home.
Though the visit seems harmless enough, one of the friends, Raghavan, has an ulterior motive.
He has knowledge of a unique gold chain with precious stones made by De Monte for his much-loved wife that is believed to be somewhere in the ruins of the colony.
When he shows the expensive jewellery to his friends the next day, they are stunned. They agree to help him sell it and share the money.
But De Monte wants his precious possession back. The thrilling second half is all about whether Srinivasan and his friends can survive.
The film moves at a slow, deliberate pace, keeping you involved with the characters and their predicament throughout.
Arulnithi gives a good performance and Ramesh Thilak adds a tiny bit of humour, but what stands out are the excellent writing skills and narrative technique of the debutant director.
He is well supported by a superb technical team comprising Santhosh Sivan's assistant Aravind Singh and a stunning background score by popular guitarist Keba Jeremiah.
Almost entirely shot in a single room with no gruesome ghosts or unnecessary build up, the director has skilfully created the eerie atmosphere, with incessant rain, a subtle aura of menace, unsophisticated characters and underlying hint of truth.
The film is undoubtedly a fine attempt by the debutant director.
Definitely worth a watch.