Review Of Mane Number 13 On Amazon Prime Video: Minutes Feel Like Hours In This Assembly Line Of Horror-Movie Cliches
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Director: Vivy Kathiresan

Cast: Ramana, Varsha Bollamma, Aishwarya Gowda 

Why do so many first-time directors think it’s easy to start their career with a horror movie? Is it the limited budget? Usually set in one or two locations for a majority of screen time, and with fewer actors, horror might seem like an easy genre to begin with. 

Or, is it because of how well it can work as a showreel for future projects? Mainstream horror films are rarely about the writing. They are mostly about how well one can direct the same-old vengeful ghost story through new characters for a spook every five minutes using one’s craft and editing. 

Vivy Kathiresan, the director of Mane Number 13, seems to be going for the latter. The makers assume that a series of upside-down shots, jump scares and a never-ending lineup of twists would suffice for a reasonably entertaining horror movie. But, can flashy making cover up the flaws of a screenplay that seems too redundant, even for a spoof? And how many twists are too many before a film starts becoming a joke? Like the boy who cried wolf, there’s only a certain number of times a film can pull the carpet from under you. At a time when films use deception cleverly to trick the viewer into believing certain things, here’s a film that blatantly lies to create the same effect. 

But more than the writing, it’s the clichés that get to you first. From a random swing and a scary doll to an Ouija board and a grandfather clock, this haunted-house movie tries desperately to become a mix-tape of the dozens of movies we’ve seen in this genre. Even the characters are clichés. The leader leads, the two girls howl and scream, the random guy dies a couple of times and the fat guy eats a lot and farts even more. There’s not a single shot that seems original, neither is there a moment of any real vision needed for this genre. 

Except, of course, for the WTF moments. When a character gets two of his fingers chopped off, another character calls out asking for a band-aid, of all things, to hold things together. Earlier, a psychotic artist’s eccentricity involves him painting all over women before he sleeps with them. A couple of scenes later, the head of a missing person is seen inside a washing machine, spinning around like a record.  

We never sense any tension. We don’t even see a genuine effort from these characters to get out of the house. It’s like they know they are in a B-grade horror movie and try to behave accordingly. You can’t blame them, because there are only a few hundred ways an actor can deliver the lines, “I’m getting very scared”. The effect the makers were going for was horror. They have to settle for horrible, though!

Also Read: From Gaalipata To Love Mocktail: Kannada Romances on OTT

 

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