A film amalgamating technology and horror together (quoted as techno-horror), Chathur Mukham (meaning Fourth Face) presents a novel premise of a possessed smartphone, creating life-threatening troubles for the protagonists. Directed by Ranjeet Kamala Sankar and Salil V., it begins on a thoughtful note pointing towards the present era in which the human race is fast becoming slave of its self-invented gadgets and social networks.
The entire film revolves around Tejaswini (Manju Warrier), who remains engaged with her phone, selfies, and social networks throughout the day, besides working with her friend in their commercial start-up. The problem begins when she buys a new phone online, of an unknown brand that refuses to function normally disturbing her personal and professional life.
Her close friend Antony (Sunny Wayne) and the physics professor (Alencier Ley Lopez) try their best to fight with the supernatural, risking their lives, and the trio successfully manages to overcome the spirit post a familiar yet fast-paced climax.
Chathur Mukham decently scores as a supernatural thriller because of its novel premise, likable performances, and a focused screenplay that doesn’t have any forced or unrelated subplots.
Thankfully, even the lead couple is shown having a healthy, friendly relationship with no cliched love angle or unrequired songs. Besides, the central character of Tejaswini is also not portrayed as any weak woman asking for help, breaking the set norm.
She is presented as a strong, fearless lady who is an inspiration for her male friend too, which eventually adds a lot to the film’s overall impact.
At the same time, Chathur Mukham doesn’t serve the expectations as a horror film, remaining more techno in its execution and explanations, forgetting the basic essentials of the genre. The few sequences depicting horror offer nothing new and thus it isn’t exactly the film that was publicised stressing more on the specific element. Watchable as a supernatural thriller, it, therefore, might disappoint if you opt for it considering it as a new horror film released.
In short, the novel premise of a haunted mobile phone and Manju Warrier playing the lead, remain the biggest merits of the film that can fairly be rated as an above-average venture.
Interestingly, Chathur Mukham might be the first of its kind techno-horror project in Malayalam films, but it isn’t the first film of its kind in Indian Cinema.
As a pleasant surprise, Hindi cinema first explored a similar subject in a film aptly titled 3G – The Killing Connection that was released eight years back in 2013 featuring Neil Nitin Mukesh and Sonal Chauhan. As a notable coincidence, the Hindi film was also directed by a director duo of Sheershak Anand and Shantanu Ray Chhibber.
However, as it always has been, Chathur Mukham turns out to be a far better and watchable film in comparison to 3G – The Killing Connection.
Film: Chathur Mukham (Malayalam)
Directors: Ranjeet Kamala Sankar and Salil V.
Cast: Manju Warrier, Sunny Wayne, Alencier Ley Lopez
Platform: Zee 5
Rating: 3 stars