A group of seven students go to a bungalow in the middle of a forest to shoot a short film. Soon, weird and dangerous incidents start happening. What happens next? Find out in the review of ?.
Business rating: 1 / 5 stars (One star)
Star cast: Yaman Chatwal, Varun Thakur, Manvi Gagru, Sonam Mukherjee, Akhlaque Khan, Chirag Jain, Kiran Bhatia.
What’s Good: A few scary scenes.
What’s Bad: The screenplay which dips in the latter half; the inaudible dubbing; the excessively shaky camerawork which might put off a section of the viewers.
Verdict: ? works in parts but the absence of known faces and its poor promotion will tell on its fate at the box-office.
Loo break: A couple.
Watch or Not?: Watch it if you are a film student.
Percept Pictures’ ? is a thriller about a group of seven final-year media students who go to a secluded bungalow in the middle of a forest to shoot a short film.
The group includes four young boys and three girls. Vicky (Yaman Chatwal) is the director of the short film, Varun (Varun Thakur) is the cameraman, and Manvi (Manvi Gagru) is the co-director. CJ (Chirag Jain), Kiran (Kiran Bhatia) and Manvi’s friend, Simran (Sonam Mukherjee), are the actors in the horror short film, which the group plans to shoot at Vicky’s deserted family bungalow. Akki (Akhlaque Khan), another classmate, is also part of the crew.
To capture extra footage for producing the making of their short film, Varun keeps his camera on at all times, except when he sleeps.
The friends have fun on the day they reach the bungalow by telling each other horror stories. But in the night, they are woken up by a loud sound, which they later discover, was caused when a tree inexplicably came falling down. Next day, the group shoots bits and parts of its film. The friends then play a game of hide-and-seek in the dark, after which CJ and Varun have an altercation over the latter having shot CJ getting intimate with Simran.
A sobbing Simran goes outside the bungalow where she is attacked by an unknown force. The other six are scared but decide to stay back for another night in order to complete their shooting. What happens then? Is the group able to complete its shooting? Is it safe for them to stay in the bungalow? The rest of the film answers these questions.
? Review: Script Analysis: Script Analysis
Yash Dave and Allison Patel’s story is interesting. But the repetitiveness of the drama induces boredom after a while. As the writers provide no reasoning for the strange occurrences at the bungalow, the audience’s curiosity is not satiated. The screenplay, also by Dave and Allison, has a few chilling moments, especially due to the hand-held camera format of the film (the narrative is told through footage from Varun’s camera which is kept switched on at all times). The scenes where loud and spooky noises are heard coming from outside and some horror scenes would make the weak-hearted viewers jump out of their skin in their seats.
However, the latter part of the drama, where the screenplay is interspersed with scenes where the characters are talking among themselves, bores the audience, more so because many dialogues are not very clear as they haven’t been dubbed.
? Review: Performances
The performances are natural. Yaman Chatwal is alright as the director. Varun Thakur is okay as the camera-wielding crew member. Manvi Gagru puts in a nice effort. Sonam Mukherjee is good. Akhlaque Khan brings a smile to the audience’s lips with his spirited performance and mimicry. Chirag Jain and Kiran Bhatia offer average support. Jayaseelan, as Full Power, is okay in a bit role.
? Review: Direction
Yash Dave and Allison Patel’s direction is suited to their script. They are able to create a few chilling moments in the drama. However, the format of storytelling, which is quite new to the Indian audiences, will not be completely understood or appreciated by the lay viewer. The film is without music as there aren’t any songs in it. The sound effects (Sushant Amin) are good. However, the dialogues are not too audible in several scenes. Allison Patel and M. Anandan’s cinematography is good. Special effects (Udhaya Rajni and Prabhu) are alright. Editing, by Udhaya Rajni, is sharp.
? Review: The Last Word
? is an attempt to create an unusual film. It succeeds to an extent in scaring the audience but the complete absence of face value, poor promotion and, therefore, lack of awareness about the film will tell on its box-office fate.