Bhoothakaalam is a psychological thriller film directed by Rahul Sadasivan and stars Revathi and Shane Nigam, alongside other cast members. The movie has a runtime of 105 minutes.
IMDB describes the movie as:
Following the death of a family member, a mother and son experience mysterious events which distort their sense of reality and make them question their sanity.
– Bhoothakaalam review does not contain spoilers –
Bhoothakaalam has an extremely chilling atmosphere. As the movie starts, you realise how caring for an ill person can have a toll on the caregivers. Sure, dying is pretty bad, but having people half-heartedly change your diaper while you can do nothing to ease their burden sounds pretty bad as well.
Either way, the movie is more about grief and how to handle it than it is about anything else. It’s almost claustrophobic watching mother and son come to terms with the feelings of abandonment. As you go around their dark and dreary house with them you feel the feelings of despair and hopelessness that I am sure they, too, feel. Plus, the rage. Oh the rage that runs through them! And you understand that rage, you get why Vinu is angry and lashing out. There’s nothing for him at home, but he can’t seem to escape this endless loop of disappointment and failure.
Vinu’s character, probably, faces the brunt of the heartbreak. Although you also feel for his mother, you can’t help but initially wonder whether there’s more to the story than the mother is letting on. That creeping, nagging sense of discomfort comes into play early on in the movie and never really leaves you alone for a majority of the runtime. The only respite seems to be when Vinu hangs out with his girlfriend, but that’s short-lived and is over before you know it.
Bhoothakaalam is a slow-paced movie and takes its horror rather slow. At first, it is a gut-wrenching drama that transforms into horror slowly and creepily. You watch with bated breath as Vinu ignores the little bumps in the night – the ones that you should never ignore if you’ve seen enough horror movies. Well, either that or the fact that Vinu is hallucinating pretty hard. It can be either and with the way that the movie flows, you can never really tell which it is.
Vinu’s home life is so unstable in Bhoothakaalam that it isn’t impossible. He is jobless, is constantly hassled by his mother for being jobless, but is also not allowed to go out for a job. It’s a sad and heartbreaking situation all around. No one is really doing a good job mentally so you can’t really believe Vinu’s claims without a touch of disbelief.
I think this confusion of whether Vinu is telling the truth or whether he is hallucinating is what keeps this movie extremely watchable. I couldn’t look away from how the movie descends into chaos slowly and the intensity and the pacing is maddening. The movie benefits from making us question what is going on in the first half – it makes watching the second half even more crazy and satisfying. The movie gave me goosebumps with every knock and bump in the night.
Bhoothakaalam never really shows us a ghost, for which I am forever thankful because the fear I felt while watching the movie would’ve gone down the drain had they done anything other than what was shown here. Honestly, every moment of this film is horrifying and fear-inducing in its own way, whether it be the problems between the mother and son or the more supernatural aspects that the film tries to portray.
It plays so well with the light and shadows and never goes overboard at night. You know some movies that you don’t know what is going on because it’s so dark? Yeah, that’s not the case here. The night-time sequences are the best part of the movie because you can see some of it, but not all. It’s the perfect blend that really makes the atmosphere so damn creepy. The shadows in the background that you can see, but not really, especially in the last half of the movie, is absolutely great.
Revathi is the unsung hero of this movie. Bhoothakaalam feels so real and creepy because of how good Revathi is as the mother who is struggles with her own mental health, her grief and a pesky little ghost. Shane Nigam is great too. Their mental struggles are worth watching and you will feel for both of their characters and understand where they are both coming from.
Summing up: Bhoothakaalam
Bhoothakaalam is a really good movie. It’ll keep you at the edge of your seat and will make you think about mental health and people’s struggles, feelings of abandonment and what moving on means for different people. It’s simple but highly effective and if you’re someone who is into something spooky this week, this should be right up there in your list.
Bhoothakaalam is streaming on SonyLIV.Instagram & Facebook to keep yourself updated with the latest news and reviews.