A comedy with an interesting premise, but flat execution

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Synopsis: A family of thieves is forced to stay in a palace believed to be haunted. Will they become the last victims of the ghosts?

Movie review: To begin with, let’s make it very clear that Annabelle Sethupathi is not your typical pei padam. Although the movie involves ghosts, a palace, and a bunch of comedians, it’s not a horror comedy, like the Aranmanai franchise. In fact, the ghosts of the place are actually the ones who seek salvation. In fact, they are ghosts who do not want to scare the people who enter their place!

On a conceptual level, this is an interesting take for a ghost movie, and the rest of Annabelle Sethupathi also has a lot of ideas that are good on paper. An extraordinary palace that has been built by experts from different continents. A ghost preparing a feast. A protagonist who has past life regressions, but is not too bothered by them. An antagonist who is a clueless ghost. A romance between two people who are from different cultures and speak different languages. The extravagant lifestyle of the kings of yore. A climax that doesn’t involve the clichéd idea of ​​the ghost taking revenge.

However, the problem is that all of these are still interesting only as ideas. The movie is full of flat directing scenes that lack the pacing comedy needs. It relies solely on the actors, who are sporty enough to act ridiculous, to make the scenes hilarious. Take the scene where Rajendra Prasad, who plays one of the thieves, wanders through a room with a sword thinking that he is alone. Unfortunately for him, Chetan and Devadarshini, who are ghosts, find themselves in the same room, and upon seeing him with a sword, Chetan, who was royalty when he was alive, decides to join him. But all Rajendra Prasad can see is a sword fighting him on his own. He flees in a panic, and Chetan, realizing that he has scared the guy, runs after him, apologizing for scaring him. But all the former can see is a sword chasing him, which only doubles his fear. This is something that should have been instantly fun on screen, but from the way it’s directed, it just seems childish.

Unfortunately, much of the humor in the film is of this type. Perhaps the idea was to make the movie appeal to kids, like the Muni franchise, which despite its flaws also has strong melodrama to ensure adults are engaged as well. Here, by trying to keep things light at all times, the director takes away any hint of drama, so even tragic moments don’t affect us as they should.

Things pick up a bit in the second half, with Vijay Sethupathi and Taapsee doing extensively written romance work. Also, the actors are in good shape. Radikaa Sarathkumar manages to channel Yogi Babu into a scene and it’s fun to watch the veteran act in a comedic role. While he’s been more fun in many movies, Yogi Babu manages to make us laugh a few times with his witty lines and anchor to the motley crew of supporting actors. The director cleverly uses this character to bring a touch of consciousness to the film, commenting on the horror movie tropes that we find in our films. In the end, you feel like you’ve seen a movie where the cast and crew seem to have fun making it.



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