The best thing about Sathura Adi 3500, is perhaps its title. You’d never really guess this is horror. When a police officer is handed a file about a death, the file snaps at him, drawing blood. The officer who hands it over, gasps. Another time, a glass shatters in a glorious display of computer graphics. And all through the movie, an apparition is seen at odd places. Its appearance set to a dramatic piece of music. The apparition isn’t scary at all; not as horrific as the background score makes it out to be, anyway. It’s the spirit of a man – Stephen – who wanders restlessly across the path of the cop, who is investigating his death.
Probably the most …inspired scene in the movie is that of Stephen handing a bottle of water to a woman in a car. She screams; he scrambles. Later, he’s seen atop the building, appearing and disappearing at will. You want to believe in this …spirit, just for the earnest effort of the director, who turns up the volume on the score to make up for the scare that never comes. But, it’s been a long time since swinging doors, oonjals, and rocking chairs inspired fear.
Manobala is the psychiatrist who has bought his degree in psychiatry with a bunch of vazhaikkas. He looks the part, and the funniest scene in the movie, which doesn’t offer many funny moments – not the tasteful ones, anyway – belongs to him. When the Sub-Inspector visits his clinic to investigate the ghostly sightings, Manobala welcomes him as he would a patient. In fact, Manobala takes him for a patient impersonating a police man.
Kovai Sarala is on a downward curve, having transitioned into what the industry has deemed the ‘age-appropriate’ role. Once a leading comedienne, who had starred alongside Kamal Haasan, it’s interesting to chart her career trajectory. She’s now seen opposite MS Bhaskar, portraying a sleazy role that she has now become known for.
Meanwhile, it transpires Sathura Adi 3500 is not about a haunting at all.
The cop seems to have had a brainwave: which spirit wears a siluvai, anyway? The movie tries to turn this into one of its best moments.
You want to believe that this perhaps is why the horror was not frightening enough; that, it was all, in some way, a deliberate attempt to mislead the viewer. But then, the songs happen, two romantic tracks happen, an item number happens, and an ending that really seems to feature a spirit. Then, you realise, it’s just a badly written film, not worthy of more thought.
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