Produced by- Etaki Entertainment
Scripted and Wielded by Milind Rau
Cast-Siddharth, Andrea Jeremiah, Atul Kilkarni, Suresh, Anisha Victor, Prakash Belawadi, Avinash Raghudevan and others
Running Time-136 minutes
Given the situation at Kollywood wherein horror flicks hit the screens in quick succession with loads of uninteresting plots and attempted humor that mostly falls flat, this horror thriller is a refreshing change that showcases a stellar cast, good production values lifted up further with excellent support by the technical crew!
A former deputy of Maniratnam, Milind proves in his very first attempt as an independent filmmaker that he is one filmmaker who can certainly go places, of course, with a bit of a little more of improvisations! As he notifies, the film is said to be based on a true story which he has tactfully expanded into a full length feature slicing in the right kind of elements that go to make such genre of films successful!
Shreyaas Krishna, the cinematographer, Girishh, the scorer (BGM, especially!), the editing of Lawrence Kishore and the art direction of Siva Shankar-have all contributed immensely making viewing a very thrilling and chilling experience! Preetisheel Singh, the prosthetic designer, deserves mention too.
With the theme set against the backdrop of a hill station, the film moves at a very steady pace right through with tension escalating gradually rounding off finally to nail-biting horror! Performance wise, Siddharth scores brilliantly and is very natural in the intimate romantic scenes with Andrea (who too, is!), shot tastefully!
Atul Kulkarni’s wardrobe deserves special mention but he has nothing much to do in the proceedings excepting to look concerned about his daughter’s state of health, rather state of mind!
Prakash Belawadi as the pastor cuts a neat cameo. So does Avinash Raghudevan as a parapsychologist offering assistance to the family in distress!
The opening sequences involving the love and marriage of Sid and Andrea have been handled brilliantly by the first time filmmaker who opts not to bore the audience as these portions are very brief but effective! But the need for a couple of intimate sequences, given the fact that this film belongs to the horror genre, is something that needs to be deliberated upon! Yet, those segments fit in well!
Soon after their wedding, Krish(Sidharth) and Lakshmi (Andrea Jeremiah) move into an isolated, palatial bungalow atop a hill station (lovely locale, misty and beautiful!). When he is not serving at a nearby hospital where he is employed, Krish spends most of his available time with his better half! Shortly, Paul (Atul Kulkarni) and his family consisting of his wife, Lizzy(Bhawana Aneja) elder daughter, Jenny(Anisha Victor), younger one, Sarah(Khushi Hajare) and Paul’s dad, Colonel D’Costa(Yusuf Husian) move into the only neighboring bungalow.
The families lose no time in bonding but what they are all unaware is that Paul’s house is haunted and has been a thriving ground for ‘spirits’!
Jenny starts behaving strangely and as a doctor, Krish steps in to help despite Lakshmi’s reservations about that as she is well aware of the fact that Jenny has a crush for Krish!
Krish seeks the help of his senior, Dr. Prasad (Suresh) who is a psychiatrist. Convinced that Jenny is ‘possessed’, Prasad invites Pastor Joshwa (Prakash Belawadi) to approach the problem from a religious angle. Colonel D’Costa brings in another person ( Avinash Raghudevan) to approach the problem from yet another angle!
Following a lot of twists and turns, most of which are unexpected yet enjoyable, the director directs the attention of the audience to a lengthy flashback in black and white (so that much of murders and bloodshed become less effective from a censor angle!) unfolding an incomprehensible back story set in the 30s, a bit implausible too! But the manner in which the young filmmaker has wrapped up every single door that he opened warrants mention!
Also, a small but important twist towards the climax regarding the presence of yet another ‘possessed’ one amidst them all is a surprise!
As there is more than one spirit, how does the title, ‘Aval’ get justified! Perhaps, Milind has the answer!
There was a 1972 film by the same title that was a takeoff on the Bollywood sizzler, Doraha!
Anyway, this is a new kind of horror thriller that is a worthy addition to worthwhile films belonging to this genre!