Director: Jofin T. Chacko
Solid: Mammootty, Manju Warrier, Nikhila Vimal
Do you assume folks in horror films have ever watched horror films themselves? It’s a query I’ve been wrestling with, every time I watch a predictable style movie with beats and twists which are identifiable from miles away. In The Priest, Mammootty’s first launch after the pandemic, there are situations the place the characters are experiencing revelations regardless that we’ve already gotten there way back. As we look ahead to these characters to catch up, we marvel if this numbness is a results of the variety of horror films we’ve already seen or if it’s merely the restrictions of the style with restricted patterns and writing combos.
Like that scene during which Mammootty, who performs a rebellious priest, proposes the idea of exorcism to assist a mysterious younger woman. It’s not like we’re anticipating a movie titled THE PRIEST to maneuver into both a homam or scientific intervention. So, it feels odd when the characters react to this proposal as if it’s a stunning bit of knowledge. So when Jesse (Nikhila Vimal) googles phrases like paranormal and walks round bemused at extremely apparent soar scares, you are feeling like sending her a couple of DVDs, however you don’t really feel for her.
And that’s largely as a consequence of how spinoff the scary elements really feel. The pictures and setup really feel like variations of Western horror movies regardless that it’s not simple to put the movies they remind you of. They really feel like spotlight reels of the very best scenes from dozens of such movies however it doesn’t coalesce to present us one thing new. It additionally doesn’t assist that the movie lacks any type of cultural markers. We all know that the movie is ready someplace in Kerala and it quickly strikes to a hill station, however there’s no specificity to make us really feel like this case is going on close to us to folks we’d know. What then is the distinction between watching a movie like The Priest as an alternative of sticking to the It collection or The Conjuring? Even the rationale lots of us favored Prithviraj’s Ezra (one other movie I don’t assume Jesse has watched) is as a result of it set the clichéd second half flashback in a Kerala Jewish setting that was new to lots of us.
However in The Priest, there’s far an excessive amount of reliance on the ghost’s flashback, and the writers overestimate the ability of the emotional angle and the twists that type part of it. The movie desires all of the chills of a gross-out horror film however it additionally desires to be intelligent by introducing to us the idea of a ghost that’s additionally a guardian angel, like we witnessed in Mysskin’s Pisasu. However neither register strongly with the scary elements usually overpowering the emotional.
One other facet I couldn’t fairly perceive was the insanely lengthy working time of a seemingly inconsequential case. In virtually all films that arrange a mysterious detective determine like The Priest, we normally start with a lesser case that’s there solely to indicate us the internal workings of the central character and the way good he’s. We get a case right here too however the movie makes use of a minuscule connection to the precise greater occasion that occurs in a while. However the subject is that this kutti case is extended for thus lengthy solely to make use of part of it as an interval twist. Which implies that we’ve invested an hour to be taught stuff about characters and plot factors that haven’t any bearing on the precise movie.
The aforementioned lack of specificity extends to Mammootty’s character too. After all, we be taught that he’s a Priest with some form of energy, however we get nothing by way of his previous to clarify his weirdly OTT costume. Aside from a dialogue during which one other Father hints his disapproval in direction of Mammootty’s Fr. Benedict, he’s nearly as good as a Latin-speaking phantom to everybody. There’s no actual world-building and the movie will not be an meeting of equally unusual characters. So, he feels actually misplaced when he walks round on this highly-stylised look (with a bucket hat and a cane) in on a regular basis locations like a hospital and a faculty. This eccentricity within the look doesn’t even prolong to his character given how tame and boring he seems to be. It appears like there’s extra effort that has gone into his look relatively than his characterisation, particularly when he appears to have extra entry to crime scenes and police recordsdata than cops themselves.
With an vitality drop in direction of the tip and a collection of concepts you’ve seen earlier than, there’s not a lot to maintain you invested in The Priest. It disappoints each as a star car and a horror thriller. Or as Fr. Benedict might need mentioned, “it’s a movie that fails to diem its carpe”.