Connect – offers an eerie experience but lacks strong writing.
“Virtual” thrillers have become a thing now, especially after the COVID pandemic. ‘Connect’ is the latest virtual horror thriller in K-town. Lady superstar Nayanthara and director Ashwin Saravanan is a highly acclaimed combo, which delivered one of the most brilliant horror pieces in Tamil cinema ‘Maya’. The two have collaborated again in Connect and it created huge expectations among the fans. We will see if the movie is good.
We are introduced to a joyful family enjoying a beach in the film’s opening and they are separated by the COVID lockdown. Everything starts to fall apart when Jospeh (Vinay Rai) passes away while treating his patients and the single mother Susan (Nayanthara) and her daughter Anna (Haniya Nafisa) are left stranded in their home. Susan’s father Arthur (Sathyaraj) is keeping in touch with them through video calls. Anna accidentally brings an evil spirit to the home when she tries to contact her father’s soul. The family is baffled by the consequences when an uninvited guest pays a visit to their home. A Mumbai-based priest (Anupam Kher) helps them to perform a virtual exorcism. Whether the family saves Anna is addressed in the rest of the film.
Nayanthara is back with an intense performance again but it is Haniya Nafisa, who owns the film. For an instance, she nailed it with her acting as if it was a cakewalk in the scene where she converses with the therapist. Sathyaraj and Anupam Kher leave a strong impact with their roles. Though Vinay Rai got very limited screen time, his presence was memorable. But Connect reaches a point where performances and technical strength are the two things that saved it from mediocre writing.
Though Connect takes the tried and tested route of all the exorcism films out there, the COVID lockdown became a prominent plot device in making the situation more challenging for the characters. More importantly, the quarantine narrative enhanced the eeriness and helped the audience to feel the grimness easily because the lockdown days were traumatizing for many of us.
While the “virtual” screenplay treatment felt nice initially, it becomes tiring as the movie progresses. It sure depicts the creepiness and helplessness but it simply can’t keep us invested in the film without any highs in the writing. Despite the fact that the scary scenes are brilliantly made, we feel like watching a horror-scenes compilation after several jump scares.
Uninteresting writing is the last thing we expect from a talented filmmaker like Ashwin Saravanan but unfortunately, Connect is the weakest written film in his career. Still, the director has proved his prowess in staging the scenes and trademark metaphors. Altogether, Connect is an underwhelming horror film from Ashwin who best used the genre in his debut.
Coming to the technical side, it was perfect. Everything, down to the last-minute details. The technicians have invested immense hard work to provide a seamless watching experience. Manikantan Krishnamachary’s visuals and Prithvi Chandrasekhar’s background scores are engrossing enough to offer a spine-chilling horror experience. Also, the colour grading and sound design are mind-blowing.
Verdict: Connect is an average regular horror film that gives a unique experience.