Mar 06 2017
I was pretty excited when Rum was advertised as a “heist-horror thriller” since those are two of my favorite genres and Tamil cinema has recently delivered some good films(Pizza, Maya, Rajathanthiram, etc.) in both those genres. But that advertisement is quite misleading. Rum is pretty much a horror film with the heist portion serving only as a short set up. And even as a horror film, it doesn’t tread any new ground.
The heist is carried out by 5 friends Shiva(Hrishikesh, who played Dhanush’s brother in VIP), Riya(Sanchita Shetty), Raj(Vivek), Nepali and Kural, to get a hold of some precious stones. The caper has some good ideas but the setup is laughably bad(the insanely valuable stones are transported in a truck with a single police jeep for security) and so the execution proceeds too smoothly to take up time or generate tension. Once the friends decide to keep the stones and spend the night in an isolated house(which a prologue has already told us, is haunted) in the middle of the forest, the film enters horror territory.
The early parts – where things go bump in the night without anyone, including us, knowing why – go on for too long. Some of the camera shots(like one where we see a crossword puzzle being solved) are inventive and there are a couple of good Boo! moments but there is little beyond that to hold our interest since the happenings in the house are standard horror movie cliches. Since our filmmakers have to tack on comedy to any genre, Vivek cracks a few jokes, but very few of them work.
A particularly gory pre-interval moment finally signals that the film has gotten serious about being a horror film. The eventual flashback(which features Miya George as one of the characters) to explain the house’s hauntings is as cliched as it gets with murders and a rape. But there is a good twist about where the loyalties of one of the characters lie and the film does take the effort to explain many of the supernatural happenings from before like a self-solving Rubik’s cube, Kural playing bounce with no one in particular, etc. Narain plays a particularly nasty villain and so the scenes where he gets his comeuppance – particularly one involving a mix-up with lemons – are enjoyable.
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