Kollywood has, over the years, made fantastic new attempts in genre cinema, be it crime-thrillers, rom-coms, action-drama or fantasy. Despite some questionable failures, the industry has managed to churn out good horror films too, that have succeeded in spooking out as well as entertaining audiences. Here are some films that made it to my list of personal favourites. Boo!
One of the earliest horror movies I watched and loved was this Aadhi Pinisetty and Sindhu Menon starrer directed by Arivazhagan Venkatachalam. The film comprised all the elements of a good story — love, betrayal, revenge. The supernatural element was unique yet logical. Actor Nandha‘s performance and the song ‘Vizhiye Vizhiye’ composed by Thaman stood out. The film is streaming on Youtube.
This movie brought instant recognition for director Karthik Subbaraj for its exceptional screenplay and gripping narrative. The thriller blew my mind away and of course, left me craving for pizza. Vijay Sethupathi as Michael the pizza delivery boy single-handedly moves the story forward. Gopi Amarnath‘s cinematography and Santhosh Narayanan‘s background score (which still rings in my head) added immense value to the simple plot inside a house. ‘Moga Thirai’ is a song I enjoy even when I hear it today. The film does have a sequel, Pizza II: Villa, but the first part stays my number one. Pizza is streaming on Hotstar.
One of director Myskkin‘s most underrated films, that takes a completely different path whilst staying within the contours of the horror genre. There’s love, humour, violence, and a wonderful twist in the narrative towards the climax. Our attention is held throughout the film without any ‘commercial’ elements woven into the plot. When I made the connection (much later, thanks to a friend) about the film being based on the famous fairytale ‘Cinderella’ my mind went kaboom! The film is streaming on Hotstar.
Kanchana (Muni 2), 2015
This is an example of a sensitive script dealt exceptionally well by its actors. At a time when the LGBTQ+ community was secluded and demeaned for their countenance, two actors, Raghava Lawrence and R Sarathkumar decided to lend on-screen dignity to their portrayal. The red saree adorned by the characters is an iconic image now, one that has been etched in the minds of audiences. The film is currently being remade in Hindi as Laxxmi Bomb, starring Akshay Kumar. The film also has two sequels which I would like to, well, ignore. Kanchana is streaming on Sun Nxt.
With Aval I finally witnessed a film that truly gave me the thrills and spills required for the genre, after the gap of a few years in Tamil cinema. The film is based on the true story of a Chinese couple who lived near the mountains with their daughter. Filled with gruesome imagery and disturbing visuals, the film is bound to haunt you for a while. Actors Siddharth and Andrea Jeremiah perform effortlessly along with Anisha Angelina Victor (Jenny in the film). The VFX and sound design take the film a notch higher. The melody ‘Kaarigai Kanne’ which takes us down the memory lane of the lead pair has stunning visuals accompanied by the voices of Vijay Prakash and Shakthisree Gopalan. The film is streaming on Netflix.
If you’re in the mood for some light-hearted horror, don’t worry we’ve got you covered. Here’s my pick from the several horror-comedy films made in Kollywood.
This Prabhu Deva–Tamannaah starrer helmed by AL Vijay finds a spirit striking a deal with the protagonist for a particular want that it couldn’t fulfill. The film takes an interesting turn at the very beginning and progresses seamlessly after that. I think Tamannaah proved her acting prowess with this film that has a strong emotional arc running throughout. Devi(L) is streaming on Sony Liv.
Sangili Bungili Kadhava Thorae, 2017
This is a horror-comedy that addresses the importance of family and bonds. The movie adopts adult-comedy in its narrative but does not overplay it. The entire cast including Jiiva, Sri Divya, and Soori perform well along with Radhika Sarathkumar, Radha Ravi and Thambi Ramiah. Ike, former assistant of Kamal Haasan has helmed the movie. The film is streaming on Hotstar.
Headlined by Tamannaah who doesn’t occupy too much screen space, this is a film that deals with family yet again. You are shown the perspective of the spirit and you end up empathising with them. The main reason for the film making it to my list? The brilliant performances of Munishkanth, Sathyan, Kaali Venkat and TSK. There is never a dull moment when they are on screen, and the jokes work most of the time. The film does not ‘comprise’ with songs or any of the other commercial element that horror movies usually adopt. It is a remake of the Telugu film Anando Brahma and is still running in theatres.