Perhaps the biggest ever mystery that a horror film can create (or, answer) is this: Why do the characters in any tale of horror feel the urge to flirt with the supernatural? Why do they choose to confront it rather than say, exhibit normal human tendencies? Like, running the hell away from a haunted house, for instance?
In Balloon, Jai, who wants to make a horror film, stays well within the perimeter even after there are obvious hints that the place is haunted. During a particular scene, when he hears strange rattling noises in the middle of the night and notices the front door ajar, he picks up a club and ventures outside.
Who does that, really? A sane person would whip out their phone and dial 100. Or, freeze. The latter, of course, is more appropriate behavior. But it is cinema and so, there are braver, larger-than-life characters who make all the right noises that people in life-threatening situations do, but choose to investigate the proceedings instead of pouring themselves a stiff drink and scooting right out of there. It’s perhaps more inhuman than the vengeful spirits themselves.
Granted, all that make for thrilling prose, especially when set to a thumping score. Throw in some scare tactics, a few laughs (as is the trend these days), and you have a recipe for a decent entertainer. Who minds the overtly made-up apparition with grey-tinted lenses and token scratches? The audience certainly doesn’t. They love it and all the other non-apparitions that make themselves known when appropriate. The kind that are accompanied by a low, pounding rhythm, but turn out to be human, after all.
Balloon credits its inspiration to The Conjuring, IT and other movies of its ilk – and rightly borrows from all of them. There’s nothing great by way of story. Jeeva (Jai) and Jacqueline (Anjali), along with a few friends move to Ooty for some fodder for a horror movie that Jeeva wants to make. Perhaps the only original element in the script is the eponymous balloon, which, accompanied by an eerily melodious score, does elicit interest. But the feeling is quickly dispelled when you know that the balloon would eventually spiral down the hole that most horrors get sucked into: A haunted house, a few murders, a possessed child, a possessed adult, a tragic backstory, revenge, and finally, an exorcism. The only relief in the starkly mundane proceedings comes by way of Yogi Babu who relentlessly tries one quip after another. Some work, some don’t, but the effort is quite moving, nevertheless.
The Balloon review is a Silverscreen original article. It was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the movie. Silverscreen.in and its writers do not have any commercial relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.