What elevates Yaavarum Nalam from your average spooky thrillers is the fact that there are no usual clichés that one associates with films in this genre. The film does not use conventional and predictable spook effects like a creaky doors, ghost jumping out of the boxes, tables and chairs moving about, an in your face scary encounter, head turning around, blood dripping from pipes, ghost attack etc..
However, without any horror props, the film keeps you glued to your seat for most part of its running time, and that are both its intention and its success. The film's about an upper middle class joint family consisting of our hero Manohar (Madhavan), a construction site engineer and his newly married wife Priya (Neetu Chandra) who moves into their new apartment on the 13th floor with his elder brother, his wife and two children along with their mother (Saranya) and a sister.
Slowly, Mano notices and realizes that some horrible things are happening around him though other family members are not aware of it. The number 13 is significant as the crucial things happens at 13.00 hrs (1 pm), at flat number 13B on the 13th floor in the building number13! He is unable to understand the weird happenings, as he confesses about it to his good friend Siva (Ravi), a police officer and then they consult the family doctor (Sachin Khedekar). Slowly the uncomfortable truth is unraveled and a mood of tension is created.
The film works because of director Vikram Kumar’s plot and tight narration. Today horror flicks are set around a doll, a tree, a mansion and here for the first time a television set, as a television serial starts controlling the family without their knowledge. The concept of objects in our daily life taking control of our life may have been seen before (The Ring, One Missed Call etc), but here the story telling and presentation are innovative.
Madhavan carries the entire film on his shoulder and he delivers a measured and meticulous performance which will stay in your minds long after you leave the cinema halls. Neetu Chandra and Saranya as women who spend a large part of their life watching television soaps are very good along with Sachin, the guy who plays Maddy’s friend and the blind old man with the black Labrador. But the real hero of YN is writer-director Vikram K Kumar who makes a great impact with a story that truly pushes the envelope.
Technically the film is very good with P.C Sreeram’s lighting and camera which dictates the mood and look of the film, Sreekar Prasad’s editing without using any gimmicks normally seen in a horror film. Shankar Ehsaan Loy’s music especially the background score and Thamarai’s lyrics raise the bar. What the film needs is a bit of trimming in the second half to make it slicker.
Watch the film for its daring attempts to break moulds and don’t say, “It reminds me of a Hollywood flick, I can’t remember its name…” On the whole YN is a film you'll find hard to get out of your head, days after you've leave the theatre.
Verdict: Super Thriller