‘Mane Number 13’ review: The horror lies in the fact that this film was made

You’d be forgiven for wondering if the film is about quintuplets attached to the hip because the characters go together absolutely everywhere.
Still from Mane Number 13
Still from Mane Number 13
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The best thing about Kannada horror film Mane Number 13, now streaming on Amazon Prime Video, is that it is short. Inspired by films such as I Know What You Did Last Summer, the most horror you will experience while watching the film is that so many people actually spent their time, money and energy making something as ridiculous as this.

Five bumbling characters – three men and two women – find themselves in a spooky mansion two years after they were involved in a certain incident. You’d be forgiven for wondering if the film is about quintuplets attached to the hip because these five characters, played by Ramana, Varsha Bollamma, Aishwarya Gowda, Praveen Prem and Sanjeiv, go absolutely everywhere together. They work together, they party together, they travel together and they also live together. And obviously, they are scared together in the weird house.

Written and directed by Vivy Kathiresan, Mane Number 13 hopes to throw one jump scare after another at the audience in the hope that it will pass for horror. The cast is left to act clownish one moment and scream the next, with the camera offering close-up shots of their faces. Just so we believe that what’s happening is very, very, very scary. The kindergarten humour consists of scenes like a person dropping a banana peel on the head of someone else.

None of the characters get a defined sketch, with the story meandering its way into every jaded trick in the book. The lip sync in the dialogue delivery is off in many of the scenes, making an already ludicrous film even more so. 

The characters also behave like they’re wearing blinkers and their vision doesn’t extend beyond what’s immediately in front of them. They look surprised and shocked by everything that happens because they simply didn’t see it coming even if the person who did the action was standing right there. My sympathies are with Varsha Bollamma, a talented actor, who has somehow found herself in the middle of this mess.

The screenplay is a series of unimaginative scares, with no effort to build the suspense or create tension. And since the film opens with the badly staged incident that’s the reason for all that happens, there’s zero motivation for the viewer to sit through this train wreck. I only lasted because I had to review this film. If you, like me, have a similar compelling reason to watch it and are looking forward to some scares, be warned. There is no boo, only boohoo.

Disclaimer: This review was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the series/film. TNM Editorial is independent of any business relationship the organisation may have with producers or any other members of its cast or crew.

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