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Aval Movie Review: A Sincere Attempt to Treat Horror With Seriousness It Deserves

But, If you expected that Aval would be a combination of ‘The Exorcist’ and ‘Conjuring’, then you are in for a surprise as the movie rests on the belief not all spirits are bad.

Poornima Murali | News18.com

Updated:November 4, 2017, 11:25 AM IST
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Aval Movie Review: A Sincere Attempt to Treat Horror With Seriousness It Deserves
Image: YouTube/A still from Aval.
In Aval, holy crosses nailed to the wall turn upside down mysteriously, a possessed teenager speaks in a foreign tongue to reveal horrors within, and a full-fledged exorcism reminiscent of the dark footages of The Exorcism of Emily Rose create a creepy thriller that had a lingering effect of spookiness well after the end credits started rolling.

Finally, a decent Tamil horror movie.

But, If you expected that Aval would be a combination of The Exorcist and Conjuring, then you are in for a surprise as the movie rests on the belief not all spirits are bad. It opens with a black-and-white narrative of a Chinese mother and girl humming a happy song.

Cut to the present:Brain surgeon Krish (stylishly played by actor Siddharth) and his wife, Lakshmi (Andrea Jeremiah) live in a beautiful house in Himachal Pradesh. The suspense begins when a family moves in next door. The first instance of something spooky going around appears in the form of a tennis ball slamming into a glass window beside which Lakshmi sits serenely one fine morning – the dark and occasionally blaring sound effects makes one think this could be a serious horror movie after all.

But that is just the introduction of how the two families eventually become friends. Jennifer, part of the newly moved in family, shows signs of being invaded by a spirit: Gazing blankly into the distance while standing on the edge of a well, she shocks the two families at a house-warming party by jumping in. Saved by Krish, Jennifer is revealed to be a disturbed girl who frequently has a go at her stepmother.

When the two families meet over dinner, paranormal activities begin and this affects the lives of both the families. Jennifer is taken to a psychiatrist who suggests that they do a fake exorcism to hoodwink her into thinking the spirit had released her from possession. Jennifer is just influenced by books and horror films and suggests the family brings in a priest. Unlike the Hollywood horror films, this priest looks nervous while performing the act and in the end, the exorcism fails. The family believes the spirits have gone but they then realise they are wrong.

The second half gives the background of the Chinese family that stayed in the same house as Jennifer’s. The man in the Chinese family, a raving lunatic obsessing over a male child he never had, finishes off his only daughter at some horrid sacrifice during a solar eclipse to ensure his pregnant wife will deliver a boy. The wife, in pure anguish, kills herself. But it has a suspense in the climax, which is hinted at many places through the movie but tied up elegantly in the finish.

Directed by Milind Rau, Aval, however, subscribes to the clichéd scary symbols seen over and over again in Hollywood horror. Having said that, the movie is a sincere attempt to treat horror with the seriousness it deserves in a milieu in Tamil cinema where ghosts are made the butt of all jokes. Horror comedy is all rage in Kollywood – from Darling to Jackson Durai to Kashmora…. The list is long.

The Aval team, then, deserves applause for putting the nerve-wracking aspect of horror back into this genre.

Rating: 3.5/5
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