Does it keep you interested/hooked right through to the end? For sure. That’s all you need to know. And get set, go!
This is what you would typically call a “genre” pic. By which, thematically, I mean a supernatural thriller/horror. Why is such a movie usually the hardest to pull off? Because they have to work within time-tested tricks and tropes, to ideally produce jumps, and jolts. Competent camera-work and editing matter more than anything else. And in that regard, the film either works, or doesn’t.
Which isn’t to suggest all such movies are roughly the same; of course not. In fact even films that don’t quite belong to the genre employ its devices effectively to tell their tale. Take Vikramaditya Motwane’s Trapped (2016), for instance. On the face of it, it’s about a man trapped in a building, which while horrific, isn’t quite horror (strictly speaking). But it really does play out entirely like a horror movie.
Why do I mention Trapped? Because that one pretty much had just one actor/protagonist on the screen, all the way. So does this. The girl here, choosing to work from home, seldom stepping out of the four walls, lives with a full-time, maternal caretaker/maid. She suffers from
nyctophobia, which is the morbid fear of darkness. I’m just throwing that term at you, because I’ve learnt two new terms from this film.
One, that there is such a thing as “anniversary reaction,” which is a recreation of a tragedy that occurs exactly a year after, with patients suffering from a post-traumatic stress disorder. That’s what the girl here appears to be going through.
The second phrase I learnt is this thing called the “memorial tattoo,” which is a tattoo mixed with the ash of a deceased loved one. That’s what the girl has. Now whether those two facts are even related, in a sense, is something you can ponder over as an audience as this masterfully crafted thriller carries on introducing even newer elements across its compact, 102-minute running time.
The film is originally in Tamil and Telugu, dubbed into Hindi, which is rare for a non-Baahubali/Rajini type pic at this point, but something that should happen more often in future. Just look at the sort of leaps taking place in filmmaking down South presently. It remains unmatched in Mumbai.
Actor Taapsee Pannu, wholly a Delhi girl, is in a great position to exploit this crackling material since she’s one of the rare North Indian actors with a simultaneously deep presence down South. Pannu plays young Swapna. Her name literally means dream, which is another strong motif running through the film.
She designs video-games for a living, is addicted to Pac-Man—the maze arcade game, wherein you plot a course, gobbling dots, with three lives in hand. I refer to this simply to help you further navigate yet another layer in a patiently coated story-line.
Okay. Let’s not over-think this. Or even over-explain. That’s best left to the individual viewer’s experience. Everything else is peak mental-masturbation that movie reviewers are accused of anyway.
Suffice it to know, this is a ‘home-invasion’ picture, a full-on sub-genre of its own, with limited pay-off, yes. But with only one question that should really matter: Does it keep you interested/hooked right through to the end? For sure. That’s all you need to know. And get set, go!
Watch Game Over Trailer