Director: Milind Rau
Cast: Siddharth, Andrea Jeremiah, Atul Kulkarni, Suresh and Anisha Angelina Victor
Siddharth’s Aval, unlike most Tamil horror films, doesn’t dilute the experience with needless comedy and treats itself very seriously from the word go. As promised, Milind and Siddharth, lovers of pure horror cinema, take inspiration from some of the widely popular horror offerings from around the world and deliver a true-blue horror experience in the form of Aval, which pushes the envelope and sets new benchmark.
The tension in Aval, which revolves around two families haunted by ghosts, grabs you by your throat and retains its grip till the very end. Unlike most Tamil horror films that scare audiences with age-old horror tricks in the book; Aval truly leaves them frightened, in a way most would not have expected. While it has flaws, particularly in the second half, one can easily oversee them given the overall effort taken to whip up a smart and bold horror flick. There’s so much to like in Aval, particularly the way it dazzles you with the thrills but never goes overboard. The buildup leading to the interval where we witness the exorcism of a girl is one of the best stretches of the film. By Indian horror standards, it raises the bar that was very low and gives audiences the hope that it’s possible to explore within the done-to-death horror space.
Technically, Aval is way ahead and it redefines how horror has been presented in Tamil cinema all these years. Take the exorcism scene where we truly encounter the ghost for the first time. The tension is well complemented by music that not only elevates the experience by a notch but at the same time sends chills down our spine.
Siddharth plays a neurosurgeon and the romance between him and Andrea is bold and refreshing. Both are good in their respective roles but Siddharth does score some brownie points for his stellar performance in the climax. Debutante Anisha is terrific and as the possessed girl she plays her part gloriously well. Atul Kulkarni, as Anisha’s father, portrays his vulnerability and helplessness with terrific ease and makes us empathize with him.
Aval, despite its minor flaws, is truly a path breaking horror experience that deserves to be celebrated.