My Dear Kuttichathan, India’s first 3D film spawned quite a few similar efforts in various languages. But nothing was as appealing or successful as the first one. There was Vijaykanth’s Annai Bhoomi too in Tamil. And now comes Ambuli, claimed by the makers as the first digital stereoscopic 3D film in Tamil. It’s the second venture from the same technical team that had given us that splendidly crafted paranormal experience in Orr Iravu. Set in the late 70s in a remote village ravaged by a mysterious evil force, Ambuli is directed by the duo of Hari-Hareesh, and photographed by Satish (of Orr Iravu fame).
The location and the settings are well chosen. It’s a tiny village protected by a surrounding wall, the villagers fearful of an evil monster. They don’t dare to venture during nights through the cornfield, which is a shortcut to their village. The ominous scarecrow, the mysterious happenings in the nights, corpses and mangled bodies, all create an eerie ambience. Two college students Amudhan (the late Ajay) and Vendhan (Srijith), who stay back in the nearby college hostel during the vacation, decide to explore the legendary story of the monster. The village lore of an evil entity, born to a woman who while pregnant defied beliefs and ventured out on a solar eclipse day, seems to be turning true. The opening scene depicting the legendary story, the suspense and the ambience - all give promise of the film turning into a riveting horror flick. The 3D effects in the earlier part, keep one engaged. But as the narration progresses, the script falters. Apart from the closeness to the Frankenstein story, the plot draws inspiration from many films. Particularly Manoj Night Shyamalan’s The village and Signs. As long as the suspense related to the monster is hidden, the film manages to sustain the thrill factor. But as the suspense unravels, the film loses much of its interest. The final conflict leaves much to be desired. Partibhan as the shabby unkempt mysterious jailbird manages to leave an impression. The open end is as expected, leaving room for a sequel.
With most events happening in the dark of the night, the 3D effects are largely wasted. Still, the effort to offer the audience a different viewing experience is appreciable. It’s the script that disappoints. The film is no match on the team’s earlier work Orr Iravu.