Tamil movies have so far been limited to popular genres like romance, comedy and action,
with most recent box-office successes mixing all three in the right proportions.
Horror is one of the genres that has rarely been tackled, with the few entries so far
being low-budget, softporn flicks(Adhey Manidhan was
a rare exception). So the release of two high-profile movies in that genre within a few
months of each other is good news for the viewer looking for variety. And though Adhu
is a few steps below Shock in terms of both story and production
values, it does offer a few chills and thrills for the horror fan.
Meera(Sneha), a blind woman who plays the violin as part of a blind orchestra at a church,
is joyous when she gets back her eyesight as a result of an eye transplant. But her joy is
shortlived as she soon starts having visions of the ghostly image of a woman, that seems
to follow her around. Her psychiatrist Arvind(Arvind), who is also in love with her, is
initially skeptical but strange happenings convince him otherwise and he begins to help
her understand whats behind her visions.
Adhu, like Shock, avoids blood and gore in its attempt to scare the viewer.
Instead, it banks on creating an ominous atmosphere and then making the viewer jump with some
'boo' moments. As long as it follows this MO, it is successful in scaring us. There
are a few jolts as the ghostly image makes some unexpected appearances(as always, its
first appearance is the most effective due its unexpectedness and they way its presented).
The ghost here is also more active, interacting with Sneha rather than being a passive
observer! These help maintain the pace at a level where we are not bored.
With the murder of the factory owner(who has conveniently been labelled a bad guy by the
way he leers at a blind Sneha), the movie reverts back to a traditional ghost story.
The trend continues in the flashback, with an usual story containing cliched characters
like money-hungry bosses, womanising youth and illiterate villagers. Cheesy graphics
and familiar sequences take the upper hand with several scenes that could have been
transplanted into a Rama.Narayanan devotional.
Sneha lends respectability to the otherwise small-budget flick. It is a convincing
performance and she successfully conveys her fear when seeing the visions. Arvind is
adequate though his amateurish acts while ostensibly treating Sneha don't gain much
respect for his character. Saranya stays on the sidelines most of the time, worrying
about Sneha. Abbas appears in one of his usual roles while Kazhan Khan
earns our hate with ease. Yuvan Shankar Raja's background score is successful in that
it doesn't intrude upon the scenes themselves.