3 A.M. review - Hardly spooky!
3 A.M. review - Hardly spooky!
By: Sonia Chopra
Critic's Rating: 17/5
Friday 26 September 2014
Rannvijay Singh, Salil Acharya, Kavin Dave, Anindita Nayar
The title refers to a time, supposedly a demonic one, when ghosts are at their most active. At the film's beginning, we are shown stats to back this up, including a statement that says Jesus was crucified at this deadly hour.
Then we see our protagonist Sunny (Rannvijay Singh) recounting his spooky tale at a deserted mill, to a few college kids who've come to visit the haunted place for fun. Rudra Mills is considered one of the most haunted places in India, we're told.
So we see a flashback of the time when Sunny's girlfriend is found mysteriously murdered at the mill. A TV show producer, he decides to make a reality show about paranormal activities and explore mare hue logon ki duniya.
His first haunt (pun indented) is Rudra mills, a choice that is more personal and professional, and accompanying him are his colleagues Cyrus and Raj.
They enter the premises and we're shown what happens inside till 3 AM. Post the clock striking 3, the spooks should begin, but it's a pretty weak portion. Concepts like back magic, Amavasya and Bhagvad Gita are thrown around, without delving into them. The spooks are too few - and somewhat predictable. One of the friends gets possessed, and now has white spaces for eyes and a growl. Heck, he even runs on all fours.
Interestingly, the build-up to the second portion is far more eerie. It's interesting when the three enter the mill, set up the camera and experience paranormal stuff bit by bit. Their intent of "investigation by provocation", where they provoke the spirits to contact them is interesting. They call these places the paranormal activity "hotspots" and ask the spirits to do stuff like move a hammer, or talk to them, shooting every movement. Sadly, even this portion becomes unintentionally hilarious at times, like a character calling the deadly spirit saale darpok.
Dialogue is incredulous as is their placing. You have friends, asking, Tu theek to hai na yaar? to someone who has just lost their loved one and is mourning. Most sentences begin with 'dude' or 'bro'. Then there are other discrepancies, like a spirit saying "life is waiting for you" to a character, that turns out to be a manipulative trick.
The film borrows the old-school technique of inserting a melodious song with characters conversing in the middle, and the song restarting again. The sound design often forgets about ambient sound, so you'll have a party scene with just the voices of the characters.
Rannvijay Singh drawls out his dialogue, and while he has the droopy eyes and looks, he can never quite communicate the eerie journey of his character.
With a location as ominous as a deserted mill that's haunted by spirits, the possibilities a horror film could have are endless. Director Vishal Mahadkar gives us a film, an amalgamation of so many horror films, which in the end is neither completely original nor spooky. Venture in only if you're not a hardcore horror fan.
Rating: 2 stars