Rating: 2.5/5 Stars (Two and half stars)
Star cast: Jimmy Shergill, Nushrat Bharucha, Arif Zakaria, Asif Basra, Nivedita Bhattacharya, Shradha Kaul, Neeraj Sood
Director: Pawan Kripalani
What’s Good: The film has its share of spine chilling moments without getting funny.
What’s Bad: The film is copied from multiple sources and falls into the realm of typical horror films.
Watch or Not?: Darr@The Mall isn’t entirely unwatchable but extremely repetitive plagued with loopy writing. The makers have fed us with every possible trick in the horror diktats and does so extremely tautly to its credit. It is entertaining if you can watch mindless horror films that fall back on familiar tropes to scare you. The fall-off-your-seats jumping moments are multiple and that allows ample room for you to relish your popcorn with another passable film. If not viewed critically, the film despite low novelty manages to deliver formulaic scares.
The film begins with the story of a certain Amity Mall that has seen a lot of bizarre and perhaps paranormal incidents lately. With the death of its watchman, the mall hires Vishnu (Jimmy Shergill) whom the deceased had recommended. Short of a grand party being held at the mall, Vishnu is entrusted with the responsibility of looking into the security arrangements of the place. A group of wild youngsters begin to enjoy by themselves and the spirits begin to make their presence felt in the meantime making theme undergo a horrifying experience that ends in death.
I am not a big fan of horror films because fear isn’t exactly my idea of enjoying a movie. There indeed are better ways to amuse myself over the weekend than getting scared. But for many who enjoy it, this flick is just another one of the horror staples. A haunted mall with a backstory that dates back to when an orphanage was demolished to erect the mall. The nun and her 21 children lead a peaceful life until they rejected the offer of allowing a bunch of businessmen demolish their home. All well and good, I don’t understand why will they kill 21 children and not just the miscreant nun in question.
The film from the beginning points towards the predictable climax and if you have seen Conjuring and Insidious, then you are pretty familiar with where the movie is heading in terms of thrills or story. There is nothing out of the world, unusual in the film and that is its primary problem. It is obviously difficult to weave a fictional story from the paranormal but that is where creativity comes to play a significant role.
I don’t think the scriptwriters were trying to show a creative bent of mind at all as much as trying to cash in good moolah. To their credit they manage to passably entertain keeping the story taut and simple. A haunted mall, greedy businessmen, an evil incident of the past and spirits coming alive from the dead are all pretty popular and known characters from the horror world.
The major lapse of logic was how Vishnu forgot about his childhood altogether. Shot on his back, his amnesia was not accounted for or believable. If an incident of that magnitude happened in anyone’s childhood, they will be scarred for life. To forget an incident that gigantic is done in a very silly fashion.
Darr @ The Mall Review: Star Performances
Jimmy Shergill is good. He keeps his gusto at peak and plays the role with such impeccable ease that it won’t be incorrect to say the man’s caliber is the right blend of experienced and nascent.
Nushrat is spanks and energetic. And after a comparatively less inspired performance in Akaash Vani last year, she is remarkably better in delivering a more credible rendering.
Arif Zakaria isn’t at his memorable best neither is Asif Basra and the rest of the cast could easily have been avoided.
Direction, Editing and Screenplay
Kirpalani manages to rise above the staggering script and deliver well within its wobbly folds. Definitely fed on vast repertoire of horror flicks, he uses them all scary mannequins, spooky looking air-conditioning ducts and even an ice skating rink. Noticeably the ghosts he uses shifted between looking like Jaadu to fearful little kids and procures too many tricks recognizable tricks to scare us. The bad news is it’s heavily unoriginal, the good part is its too engaging. Luckily the glimpses of the ghost has been limited to keep us horrified till the end. Many visual inferences have been generously lifted from too many seen films but Kirpalani manages to show the mundane story with getting us bored. Editing team too have been careful in not giving us anything more than what should be shown. Had the editing got sloppy, the film would have reduced to an unforgivable mess.
Background score of Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy too managed to make the screenplay more presentable. It infuses the correct measure of fear without going extremely over the top.
The Last Word
Darr@The Mall is a decently made film that involves you in the story quite enthusiastically. The story might suffer from too many problems but the final cut doesn’t translate the glitches. Using the littlest things to evoke fear, the film’s narrative uses a simplistic vein in telling the story without making the audiences rack their brains to much. The usual favorites of the horror world is spread out on a platter. However, for those who are expecting more from the film might be disappointed because it is the usual done powerfully but lacks the stylish shrewdness in it. I am going with a 2.5/5.