Tamil movies follow the beaten path so much that any attempt in tackling an uncommon genre is most welcome. And
when the attempt is successful, the joy is doubled. Thiagarajan's Shock is one such rare entry in the horror genre.
Though a completely faithful remake of Ram Gopal Verma's Hindi Bhoot, the uniqueness of the genre and its
accomplished handling make Shock a successful horror thriller, especially for someone looking for something
different from the run-of-the-mill Tamil movies.
Vasanth(Prashanth), a stockbroker, is on the look out for an apartment and sees one he likes on the 12th floor of a high rise.
He is unmindful of the fact that a few years ago, a woman called Manju had fallen to her death from the balcony of the apartment
and moves in with his wife Malini(Meena) without telling her the history of the apartment. But Malini, who sees images of
a woman and a child in the house, starts behaving rather strangely. A troubled Vasanth takes her to a psychiatrist(Devan) but
soon begins to believe that her affliction is not simply psychological.
Shock is a rather unique horror flick, especially to Tamil cinema (though considering the few entries we have had so
far in the genre and their quality, the uniqueness is not that surprising!). It avoids special effects, violence or gore, instead
relying on atmosphere and anticipation to give us the chills. There are quite a few 'boo' moments (the first time Meena sees
the woman's image in the mirror in an especially good one) but for the most part, Thiagarajan employs camera movements
and music rather than scary imagery to raise the tension. This works well and we are in a heightened state of alert almost
throughout the movie.
The flip side of the above technique is that the movie is slow-paced. While there are enough shocks scattered around to avoid
the feeling that the movie is dragging, the overuse of sequences that increase our anticipation before ending in an anti-climactic
manner leads to an impression of watching a very slow movie. There are only so many times we can see an elevator move
up and down or Prashanth getting to and from work without anything else happening! While this can be excused initially as
means of building up tension, the lack of pace in the second half could have been avoided with some editing.
Prashanth plays a down-to-earth, low-key role with no heroics. Meena definitely has the meaty role and carries it of well. Her
performance as the possessed woman is believable and she avoids being over-the-top. Thiagarajan shows up as the investigating
cop while Suhasini is the medium. Kalairani overacts as the mysterious servant. The elimination of song sequences that would
have slowed the pace further, apart from affecting the atmosphere, is a good thing.