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Lift movie review: Kavin stars in a diluted horror film that tries to say too many things – The Hindu

Lift movie review

There are a couple of promising moments in Vineeth Varaprasad’s debut film, Lift. the first is the beginning. we see a close-up of a radio set, which reads the weather report. in the next shot, we see a body falling through a roof. after starting with this jolt, the film immediately slows down, trudges forward and weaves as it establishes the characters and their setting. About half an hour later, the elevator appears to be working again (pardon the pun) when its protagonist, the Guru (played by Kavin), gets trapped in a haunted elevator. for a few shots, he tries to evoke a claustrophobic emotion. a man trapped in a small space with a supernatural entity, his cries for help go unheard, his thoughts panicked. Just as you start to wonder if the movie is entering the survival horror zone as an alien, the elevator somehow opens, releasing all the tension. and the elevator winds back up.

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lift seems to be confused about what it wants to be. disney+ hotstar (the ott platform that released the film) categorizes it as horror. but there’s a bit of comedy, romance, and a seemingly passionate protest against corporate business, all of which dilute the genre. and this is the case with most Tamil horror movies. they attempt to evoke contrasting emotions at jarring intervals. It’s like walking through one of those carnival horror houses and stopping at random intervals to watch the vadivelu comedy.

v vignarajan’s andhaghaaram is the only unadulterated recent horror that I can recall. that movie, despite its other problems, had a consistently somber mood, which worked well. furthermore, his characters were more relatable than lift’s. its protagonist, vinod (arjun das), for example, becomes nervous and traumatic when encountering a paranormal phenomenon. and that’s how it is throughout the movie. guru and harini (amritha), the protagonists of lift, also get scared. but several moments in the film trivialize the mortal danger they find themselves in. for example, harini tells guru at one point: “un kooda deal panradhukku andha pei oda deal panradhe mel (it’s better to deal with the ghost than with you).” guru sings harini’s birthday song, lights up his lighter. he finds it hard to believe that they are people who observed an elevator controlled by a ghost; a man cutting his throat with a paper knife and the news of his death on television.

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It’s also hard to understand how the spirits work (yes, there are two!). they can manipulate the elevator, make photocopies, disconnect the phones, and create an illusion similar to that of penrose stairs. but they let some devices like flashlight work fine. Of course, there must be a suspension of disbelief. but there must also be coherence within the film, right? it is difficult to understand the intentions of the spirits. we get to know at the end that they have something to show one of the protagonists. but… they also try to kill them (?).

Humans in elevators behave more strangely than spirits. When Guru meets Harini for the first time, she asks him to click on a photo. he takes her phone, pretends to click on a photo, and intentionally drops the phone into a fish tank…for no apparent reason. he comes across as an idiot. and, this, somehow makes harini fall in love with him. later, when harini reveals his attraction to her, he says that he is not interested. he tells her that he can call her “akka” (sister); harini slaps him and says: “girls get angry when they are called ‘sister’, like boys get angry when they are called ‘brother’”.

apart from the questions mentioned above, I have one more, about the title of the movie; why call it an elevator when the whole office is haunted? considering the one-liners and absurd scenarios that keep playing out there, the office might have been a better title.

lift is currently airing on disney+ hotstar

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