By Kaushik LM
Slasher films are a popular genre in Hollywood. Films like the “Scream” and “Saw” series, and “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” all have violence, torture and disturbing visuals that are not meant for the faint-hearted.
Indian audiences, too, have taken a liking to these films mostly by watching them online. However, Indian film-makers had not ventured into such gore yet. A young Tamil filmmaker, Sumanth Radhakrishnan, has finally taken the step to bring such a film to Indian audiences through “Sadhuram 2”, featuring a cast of mostly new faces.
“Sadhuram 2” loyally follows the first film in the “Saw” series and the makers have also credited the original. Yog Japee (playing a doctor) and Riaz (playing a photographer) end up abducted and chained in a grungy room, with a dead body lying between them. Each of them has a cassette, through which the kidnapper addresses them, telling them why they have been held captive and what they should do to win their freedom.
The narrative goes back and forth in time and we are shown overlapping episodes from the two men's lives. They frenetically look for clues and signs in the room to break free and the doctor, in particular, turns increasingly desperate. A young working professional with a terminal illness and his pregnant wife are also key characters.
The director has infused some “Indian” tropes in the film by including a grieving pregnant woman and a rape victim who is denied justice. “Sadhuram 2” isn't just about raw visuals and violence. In fact, the violence been toned down to acceptable levels and the film carries a U/A certificate, unlike its original.
Girish Gopalakrishnan’s tense, moody background score is a big plus in the film. He has previously done good work in films like “Marina” and “Vidiyum Munn” prior to this. However, a quirky sound effect which keeps coming whenever there is a shift in the narrative, gets on our nerves beyond a point. With a short run-time of 90 odd minutes, the film does not have any songs but the decision not to include commercial elements is a good one. The edits by S.P.Raja Sethupathi are intelligent and do justice to the non-linear nature of the plot.
The performances are adequate. Excluding Yog Japee and Suja Varunee, the rest of the cast is made up of new actors. Yog Japee is a trained theater artiste and is convincing as an affluent and sophisticated doctor. Rohiet Nair gets a pivotal part and he showcases sufficient intensity in the film's riveting finale, when all the dots are connected.
“Sadhuram 2” is not for everybody but it will appeal to a niche group that enjoys the slasher genre.