Film: Demonte Colony
Director: R Ajay Gnanamuthu
Cast: Arulnidhi, Ramesh Thilak, Sanath, Abhishek, M S Bahskar
Intelligently scripted and deftly narrated, Demonte Colony, is no usual horror flick we have seen on Tamil screen. The comic-horror genre may be the flavour of the season. But debutant director Ajay’s ghost-story is pure unadulterated horror and true to its genre.
Making a mark in his very first venture, Ajay (a former associate of Murugadoss) confidently moves his narration forward with the agility of a chess player, and crafts a product riveting and gripping.
A haunted area in Chennai’s Alwarpet, the Demonte Colony, becomes the focal point of the spooky horrific happenings to follow. The early part introduces four friends who share a room at a Housing Board colony. Srini (Arulnithi) does household jobs at the bungalow of a quirky married woman who pays him well; Raghavan (Sanath) is an aspiring film maker struggling to get a producer; Sajith is an electrician; and Vimal a graphic designer. The four leads get equal space, each playing their part capably.
One of his best performances to date, Arulnidhi lends conviction to the role of Srini, playing it with perfect understanding. The life of the four takes a turn when they, on a whim, pay a visit to the mansion in the Demonte Colony. The mansion had once belonged to a Portuguese businessman. The flashback to the 19th century period, the story of the man’s mentally imbalanced wife, and an issue that drove De Monte to ruthlessly massacre his servants, is an episode fascinating and well crafted. The casting too is good here. People who had visited the mansion had been found mysteriously dead the next day, but the quartet return unscathed from their trip. It’s what happens to them in the confines of their room that follows next. It’s admirable how Ajay has used the space to its maximum potential.
The lighting of the interior and the unusual camera angles (Arvind Singh) enhance the eerie feel. The re-recording and Keba Jeremiah’s background score is a plus point. The editing is slick and neat (Bhuvan Seenivasan). And the film takes just about 116 minutes of viewing time.
Ajay introduces a lot more quirky elements here, like the visually stunning scene of the artefacts and objects in the room suddenly turned into a frozen state. The constantly pouring rain outside, and the quartet suddenly finding themselves cut off totally from the outside world, and their weird behaviours, are spooky moments.
It is a well planned climax with a Sixth Sense touch. In the second half, not a shot seems to be wasted, each scene planned meticulously with attention to detail. It’s appreciable that Ajay hasn’t compromised. The film doesn’t have a heroine, nor any romantic duets, forced in fights or inane comedy. The couple of songs too are well placed and don’t distract.
Brilliantly written and executed, gripping and refreshing, Demonte Colony is a must watch for lovers of the genre.