Connect Review: Narrative style makes the difference

Connect


What’s the story?

Susan (Nayanthara), Joseph (Vinay Rai), and adolescent daughter Anna aka Ammu (Haniya Nafisa) are a loving, close-knit family. The impact of COVID-19 on their lives is profound. Joseph, a doctor, succumbs to COVID-19 after spending days caring for hospital patients. Susan and Anna, who have caught COVID-19 along with the rest of the population, are quarantined in their large home as the lockdown is announced. Susan’s dad, Arthur (Sathya Raj), gives them a video call to catch up.
Anna’s odd behaviour becomes apparent to Susan. The two, Susan and her dad, start to suspect that Anna is possessed before long. How can Susan and Arthur save Anna?

Analysis

At first glance, the story could be mistaken for just another Hollywood-style horror tale, like The Conjuring. The novelty of the film, however, cannot be denied. The entire movie, save for a few seconds at the beginning, is told through a video chat. In other words, the action is viewed from the perspective of a mobile screen.

The actors have video chats with one another, and we watch them from the camera app. All of the action takes place through video chats between the various characters. This fresh approach to storytelling has breathed new life into the traditional horror genre.

In this story, everything happens in one house, Susan’s (Nayanthara). The girl who is her daughter is possessed. Due to lockdown and COVID-19, however, she is unable to leave the house. The central question, then, is how Susan manages to free her possessed daughter. The story is typical of a horror film, but, as I mentioned up top, the style of narration has made the difference.

Aside from the narrative style, short runtime with no intermission is strength. The film has just 99 minutes of runtime. These technical aspects have worked to its advantage. The film provides some tense moments and jump scares as well.

The Taapsee Pannu film “Game Over” showcased director Ashwin Saravanan’s abilities. However, he and his co-writer have relied on stock scenes. Such sequences borrowing from “The Conjuring” to “The Exorcist”, have been recycled numerous times. Similar to the recent “Masooda,” this one also uses standard horror conventions.

In terms of acting, Nayanthara gives another excellent performance. She deserves praise for taking on the role of a mother to a teen. Infusing gravitas are Sathya Raj and Anupam Kher. But the spotlight really belongs to newcomer Haniya Nafisa, who plays the possessed teen.

The camerawork is outstanding. The artwork is perfect. The sound design and background score have synced with the theme.

Bottom line: Even though the story of “Connect” is fairly standard fare for the horror genre and the film focuses more on spectacle than on feeling, the way in which the story is told is innovative. The video-screen narration is what sets this horror film apart from the norm.

Rating: 2.5/5

By: Jalapathy Gudelli

Film: Connect (Dub)
Cast: Nayanthara, Vinay Rai, Sathya Raj, Anupam Kher, Haniya Nafisa
Writers: Ashwin Saravanan & Kaavya Ramkumar
DOP: Manikantan Krishnamachary
Music: Prithvi Chandrasekhar
Editor: Richard Kevin
Art director: Siva Sankar and Sreeraman
Directed by: Ashwin Saravanan
Release Date: Dec 22, 2022

 

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