‘Asvins’ movie review: Vasanth Ravi’s horror film has a half-decent story with impressive scares - Post
Asvins film review

‘Asvins’ movie review: Vasanth Ravi’s horror film has a half-decent story with impressive scares

A still from ‘Asvins’

A still from ‘Asvins’

Vasanth Ravi, despite being just three films old, has made it evident that he wants to be affiliated with intriguing scripts irrespective of the genre or the talents calling the shot behind the cameras. After the impressive Taramani and Rocky, he’s back with Asvins, a psychological horror film, and it makes sense as to why he went ahead with the film — it’s got a fascinating premise, immense scope to showcase one’s acting prowess, and is genuinely scary. But whether these attributes come well together to make a well-rounded horror flick is a different question altogether.

Asvins is the story of a bunch of friends who take up the project of shooting an abandoned mansion in the UK to promote it as a black tourism site — tourism involving places historically associated with death and tragedy. The mansion belonged to Aarthi Rajagopal (Vimala Raman), an archaeologist who specialised in religion and ritual, who was found dead along with 15 people she had killed. The moment the friends enter the premises, they awake the otherworldly inhabitant who inflicts horror on the gang. Interestingly, the evil force that tortures these poor souls has an Indian connection and Arjun (Vasanth Ravi) has to “Dormammu, I’ve come to bargain” his way out and save his friends.

Asvins (Tamil)

Director: Tarun Teja

Cast: Vasanth Ravi, Vimala Raman, Simran Pareek, Muralidaran, Saraswathi Menon, Udhayadeep

Runtime: 111 minutes

Storyline: A group of friends visit a haunted mansion in the UK that are riddled with unpleasant surprises

Tamil horror films have almost always had religion and/or mythology at their core while Hollywood’s tried-and-tested tropes are haunted houses or cabins in the woods where a bunch of friends (a minimum of one romantic couple among them) split up to make it easier for the ghost to take them out one after the other. Asvins takes both these ideas and blends them into one. It adopts both desi-rooted fables, religious rituals and containing the evil spirits from disturbing the ones alive, as well as Western satanic customs and symbols to scare the audience. And scare it does!

A hefty portion of Asvins is shot in found footage/POV style and along with dim lighting, eerie sounds and sudden camera moves, the film lends itself well to some brilliant jump scares. For fans of old-school horror and those who frighteningly relish watching it through the gap between their fingers, Asvins has a lot to offer as it’s undoubtedly one of the scariest films Tamil cinema has had in a long time. Only when the film tries to explain the reason behind the supernatural happenings does it falter.

A still from ‘Asvins’

A still from ‘Asvins’
| Photo Credit:
Special Arrangement

Despite an interesting backstory involving the Hindu deities Ashwini Kumaras that the film narrates in its first chapter— the film is segmented into five chapters — by the time we get back to how it’s connected to the present-day happenings, we are already near the end of the film, causing the climax portion to be rushed. Just like the twist right before the intermission, the hurried unravelling of knots at the end doesn’t make the impression they’re supposed to create. While the concepts of astral planes, duality and dead people staying at an intermediate state aren’t elaborately explained to those who are new to it, those who’ve gotten used to those ideas (thanks to films like Usand the Insidiousmovies) would find them hardly fascinating. The fact that the film itself resembles classics like The Blair Witch Project doesn’t help much either.

The set-ups to the scares too feel rather too convenient. For instance, apart from the usual use of attics and basements as safehouses for ghosts, and the ‘lights aren’t working properly’ trope, the mansion is said to be far from civilisation and the only road that leads to it floods at night due to high tide, turning the estate into an island. For a story that majorly unfolds over just one night, scenes of brothers bonding, a wife planning on a surprise for her husband, and the team coming together to sponsor their youngest member’s education feel forced.

Aside from the scares, where the film shines is in its technical aspects. The lead cast’s performance is quite good and scenes involving their actions switching from fear and horror back and forth are compelling. After Iruttu, Vimala Raman once again scores in the horror genre despite her limited screen time. After a while, the film completely relies on Vasanth’s character and the actor pulls it off well. As was the case with Tarun Teja’s short film that Asvins is based on, sound designer Vijay Siddharth has done exceptionally in setting up the mood of the film. Despite a story that could’ve been more detailed and fleshed out, Asvins is a technically strong psychological horror film that does justice to its genre and that’s a win in the books of horror lovers.

Asvins is currently running in theatres

AU Bureau
Author: AU Bureau

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