June 19, 2024
The village

Author: Milind Rau

Cast: George Maryan, Divya Pillai, Muthu Kumar, Arya, and Aadukalam Naren

Six episodes

Duration: 35–50 minutes

Storyline: In a mysterious, abandoned village thought to be haunted by ghosts, a man must save his wife and child who went missing.

The Village

Every time a writer ventures into uncharted territory, particularly in this treacherous train of a genre known as “horror,” you hope it will be fresh enough to overlook its flaws. However, The Village—which bills itself as the first live-action graphic novel adaptation in India—is an unbelievably cheesy, trite, and incredibly artificial attempt that at points seems like a parody of the done-to-dust horror clichés.

What’s sad is that the universe author Milind Rau attempted to create has potential, which is why the original graphic novel must have felt compelling—it has plenty of gore, a diverse cast of characters, and a setting perfect for exciting storytelling. Kattiyal is a seaside hamlet in Tuticorin that is home to a horrific forest and an abandoned village full of strange elves, bioluminescent plants and animals, pulsating, eerie creatures reminiscent of The Thing, and mutants—zombie-like beings covered in pustules that resemble boils.

A car puncture leaves an ignorant family, comprising Gautham (Arya), Neha (Divya Pillai), their daughter Maya (Baby Aazhiya), and their beloved Beagle dog, the confusingly called Hectic, stuck at Kattiyal. Now, Gautham must defend the family with the aid of Peter (George Maryan), Sakthivel (Naren), and Karunagam (Muthu Kumar), three communities with a shared past with Kattiyal.

In the meantime, a different plot point starts when the villainous wheelchair-bound drug dealer Prakash (Arjun Chidambaram) sends some scientists and mercenaries commanded by Farhan (John Kokken) to Kattiyal in order to obtain a substance called Lantanite that would help him walk once more. The fact that you can tell Prakash’s arc from a distance genuinely doesn’t help.

First of all, The Village punishes you with dialogue that is mind-numbingly campy throughout its six-episode length. Then, “Also, smoking is injurious to health,” came next. We were in the dark! It’s okay to inject some humor into interactions between icy-cold mercenaries and terrified scientists, but the jokes here make you hope that some skeleton in Kattiyal would wake up and object to such sacrilegious attempts at humor.

Not to give anything away, but the mercenaries perform a type of farewell ceremony with a dramatic soundtrack in the background when one of the men dies. You. Only you. Have No Concerns. They even go so far as to blast objects that are only feet away.

It’s also horrifying how you never get the impression that they are actual people responding to a supernatural circumstance, with the exception of Naren and Muthu Kumar, who both perform quite well in their parts.

You are continually turned off by something, and nothing feels natural. The camera sporadically zooms in and pauses while the man maintains his position after saving his team (predictably) with a clean shot from his shotgun; it’s a theatrical effect that stands out like a sore thumb. Even in the final two episodes, which are the better of the six, there are still spoiler tidbits, drawing you in with unbridled gore and a few shocking twists of fate.

Give credit where credit is due: the set designs are very striking, especially the ones within the Kattiyal factory.

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