Phoenix Malayalam Movie
Despite the conventional framework of 'Phoenix,' debut director Vishnu Bharathan exudes confidence in narrating a somewhat an uneventful script penned by Midhun Manuel Thomas. In this horror drama, the director successfully crafts intriguing moments that align with the genre, steering clear of the typical eerie tropes. Midhun's plot conflict adheres to the tried-and-true formula of horror films, but here, the customary exorcism gives way to a romantic subplot. Leveraging his skill for a polished and steady narrative, the director manages to make the tale captivating, introducing two distinct time periods.
Set in the 1990s, the story begins with lawyer John Williams (Aju Varghese), alongside his wife Daisy (Nilja K Baby) and three children, searching for a rented house. A serious individual, John has few friends apart from Ameer (Bhgath Manuel), to whom he frequently turns for advice. Seeking a house with no neighbors nearby, John eventually settles with his family in a house near the seashore. However, peculiar occurrences, including mysterious letters addressed to someone else, befall the family.
In an effort to find a solution, Ameer and John embark on a mission to locate a person named Freddy (Chandunath), mentioned in the letters. Their quest leads them to a priest (Anoop Menon), unveiling a romantic saga between Freddy and Anna Rose (Abhirami Bose) during the 1970s, set against the backdrop of a cholera epidemic.
While 'Phoenix' treads a familiar path in treatment and narration, the situations remain gripping enough to generate anticipation for forthcoming events. The historical settings lend a distinctive charm to the film, and the intense romantic tale in the flashback is elevated by Chandunath's convincing performance. Abhirami becomes the linchpin of the story, adeptly portraying the emotions of an orphan and a heartbroken lover. Aju Varghese, with a solemn demeanor, effectively guides the movie, conveying the character's dismay and sentiments convincingly.
The film manages to overcome its shortcomings, thanks to Alby's visuals and Sam CS's music. Shaji Naduvil's commendable art direction, especially in the flashback sequences, leaves a lasting impact. While glimpses of emotionally potent storytelling emerge in the decisive part of the film, this aspect is somewhat lacking in the overall narrative. 'Phoenix' adheres to the cliched template of a horror drama with the support of a romantic tale in the background, offering a flickering impact.