A mystery thriller with a touch of supernatural featuring Prithviraj Sukumaran as the investigating officer was exciting enough to raise the expectations of both the fans and the lovers of this particular genre. However, the film, directed by Tanu Balak as his debut project, doesn’t turn out to be anything exciting or novel either in terms of content or execution.
Perfectly conveying through its title, the film is a cold case, missing the ‘must-have’ thrills and excitement in its story progression. Beginning on a confusing note, it randomly showcases different rituals of exorcism being practised before moving on to the basic plot. The case begins when a skull is recovered from a lake and the ACP (Prithviraj) commences his investigation suspecting a political link. On the other side, a TV journalist and a single parent (Aditi Balan) notices some paranormal activities in her new house taken on rent and decides to dig more into it enquiring about a strange fridge in particular.
From here on, Cold Case attempts to present two parallel investigations being done by the police and the anchor/journalist at their individual ends without meeting each other till the climax. Sadly, this parallel investigation plot remains the only novelty in the film that otherwise keeps dealing with predictable cliches and unconvincing horror elements. For instance, how many times the viewers are supposed to feel scared looking at a kid playing with a mysterious doll supported by a forced background score and jump-cuts in edit.
Yes, the film offers some engrossing moments towards the end when the suspense is revealed explaining the reason behind the paranormal activities and the weird fridge. But a mystery thriller doesn’t work only because of its climax. It actually works for everything that is presented before the last revelation, keeping the viewer constantly guessing and intrigued. Unfortunately, Cold Case doesn’t have that kind of execution in its first hour and thus fails to arouse any kind of curiosity remaining a pretty ‘cold watch’.
Thankfully, here we have Prithviraj playing the smartly dressed police officer without any typical over-glorifying presentation of a hero. His calm and sober presence works in the film's favour along with Aditi Balan who gets equal space in the script underplaying it decently. No love story thrown in just for the sake of it has to be considered a merit too even if the supporting cast doesn’t come up with anything worth mentioning.
Overall, Cold Case remains an average onetime watch that could have been a winner with a different execution of the potential plot. In the present form, it even falls short of Prithiviraj’s Ezra (2017) exploring the same genre of crime mystery thrillers served with horror.
Title: Cold Case (Malayalam)
Cast: Prithviraj Sukumaran, Aditi Balan, Suchitra Pillai, Anil Nedumangad and Lakshmi Priyaa Chandramouli
Director: Tanu Balak
Platform: Amazon Prime Video
Rating: 2.5 stars