In almost all its promotional events and interviews, the people associated with the movie Chathur Mukham have constantly talked about how fresh the concept is. The movie comes with the tag of being a techno horror film, and the makers have claimed that it is not your typical ghost story. I expected the movie to place the theme in a more relatable space and then infuse fantasy into it. But to my disappointment, the techno aspect in Chathur Mukham is just a cosmetic level change. With the script going after a stretched-out usual closure, I found the movie exhausting.
Thejaswini and Antony are college buddies, and now they both are business partners in a CCTV camera business. Thejaswini is a social media addict who posts her daily routine on social platforms. At one point, her phone gets damaged, and because of certain financial issues, she decides to buy a less known company’s cheaper phone. But after purchasing that phone, troubles started following Thejaswini and Chathur Mukham is basically Thejaswini and Antony’s efforts to find a solution to this mysterious scenario.
Somewhere there is this aspiration for the movie to place the ghost as a metaphor. But there are no efforts here to make the viewer think in that track. If you call Chathur Mukham a techno horror film, I will have to say that Dora starring Nayanthara, is an automotive horror film. Instead of someone opening the pot or plucking the nail, here we have someone booting a mobile phone to set the spirit free. The rest is the same story as any other horror thriller. You touch or open something to set the ghost-free, you want a solution, you find out about the sad story of the spirit, and you finally find a way to close the portal.
The main issue with Chathur Mukham is its unending second half. The second half of this film is confused about whether to follow the science track of the fantasy track. The stretching of simple plot elements is very frustrating. When Thejaswini explains a particular pattern in the ghost’s modus operandi, everyone gets its danger. But the character Antony acts like Joey in Friends, who needs too much explanation and time to get it. Then you have a sentimental track. Then it goes after a scientific solution. And in the midst of it all, there is a death happening which sort of made me wonder why Thejaswini became a victim in the first place. The movie’s climax is a tedious one, and to be honest, certain bits of it ended up looking like unintentional comedy.
Manju Warrier carried the energy of Thejaswini very efficiently. And when the story shifts to those spooky areas, she transforms according to the level of the drama of the content. Sunny Wayne yet again disappointed me with his stiff dialogue delivery and graceless coolness. Alencier was okay as the person who guides these two in this challenging situation. Navas Vallikkunnu was funny to an extent. But after a point, I thought he was becoming the Suraj Venjaramood of the initial days (slang overdose). Niranjana Anoop, Producer Jiss Toms, Shyamaprasad, Shaju, etc., are the other faces here with minimal screen time.
The script written by Abhayakumar and Anil Kurian has a somewhere relatable premise. But it isn’t trying to interpret things we do to create horror. Manju Warrier had said in an interview that if people’s addiction to mobile phones gets affected due to this movie, it will be considered an achievement. And she even talked about the Netflix documentary The Social Dilemma. But when you see the movie, that sort of closeness with the existing technology is missing. Salil V and Ranjeet Kamala Sankar are somewhere repeating the same gimmicks of usual horror films. The movie could have been much crisper if they had given it a puzzle-solving vibe. To attain a different visual grammar for the horror portions, Abhinandan Ramanujam uses wide lenses, and one could see certain color experiments too. But because of the unamusing script, it ended up being a DJ show. The edits had continuity issues, and the background score was following the usual loud template.
If you are okay with horror movies following the same pattern and structure, Chathur Mukham won’t be much of a disappointment to you. But if you have any sort of expectations to see some new interpretations as they have claimed it to be a techno horror thriller, I would say you will be deeply disappointed like me. The script’s inability to explore the fresh premise is the biggest drawback of Chathur Mukham.
I expected the movie to place the theme in a more relatable space and then infuse fantasy into it. But to my disappointment, the techno aspect in Chathur Mukham is just a cosmetic level change.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended