Kumari Malayalam Movie

Feature Film | 2022 | Horror | 2h 17min
Kumari has a splendid production design, creating a sense of despair and impending doom. The attempt here is to make a Tumbbad-like world with monsters and greedy, power-hungry people. The attempt is noble and the film is watchable, but the overemphasis on production design often weighs it down.
Nov 6, 2022 By Sreejith Mullappilly

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Director Nirmal Sahadev's Kumari is a blend of reality and myth with elements of horror. It talks about black magic, human sacrifice, and a culture of caste oppression. An extended prologue talks about a curse on the members of the Kanhirangat family somewhere in western Kerala. The curse from an evil force has lasted a dozen generations when Aishwarya Lekshmi's Kumari comes there as family member Dhruvan's bride. Kumari soon learns about the deep, dark secrets behind the rituals and other superstitions in the family.

Kumari has a splendid production design, which creates a sense of despair and impending doom. Cinematographer Abraham Joseph's camerawork and Jakes Bejoy's music contribute to the director's attempt to build an old, mythical world rife with superstition. The attempt here is to make a Tumbbad-like world with monsters and greedy, power-hungry people. However, it is the overemphasis on the production design that often weighs the film down.

Often, filmmakers try to make a movie look good while forgetting that what matters the most is the script. Kumari is only a watchable film with a flabby script. It briefly talks about caste oppression, but the makers fail to give this idea the attention it deserves. There is also a potentially provocative idea about how humans are more monstrous than the real monsters in the woods, but this is also underexplored. The main problem with the script is that it is predictable.

Kumari is supposed to be a horror film, but there are hardly any scary or thrilling moments in it. In many films with elements of horror, we often see some characters telling the protagonists not to go to a specific place, but they still go there. There is also an old person who stops the protagonist to warn them of the danger involved in the place where they go. These classic horror movie cliches are there in Kumari too. After a particular point, we know what the movie is all about and where it is headed. Predictability is the real monster in Sahadev's script.

What's worse is the prosthetic stuff for some of the main characters. Some of the makeup is glaringly obvious, which means it lacks conviction and authenticity.

As for the performances, Aishwarya Lekshmi stands out in the titular role. Aishwarya does a good job of showing Kumari's angst and steadfast determination. Surabhi Lakshmi is also good as a mysterious old woman with a language that seems like Malayalam with a lisp. It is also good to see Rahul Madhav being cast against type. However, Shine Tom Chacko's performance is showy mainly because he often does not deliver his lines in a way that suits his character.

Sreejith Mullappilly