Irul is a Malayalam-language mystery crime thriller directed by Naseef Yusuf Izuddin and stars Fahadh Faasil, Soubin Shahir and Darshana Rajendran.
Listen, even though the prospect of not taking your phone on a romantic weekend getaway sounds hella lucrative, it’s the fastest way to get murdered. It doesn’t matter whether or not you’re getting chased, horror movies have taught me that not having your phone on you is a bad idea, and you wouldn’t catch me without it. So, Alex and Archana’s foolish decision not only gave me major anxiety the moment I heard it, but it kind of also gave me an idea as to where the movie was going.
And was I correct in my assessment? Yeah, I kind of was.
Irul starts off simply enough – a couple with a somewhat strained relationship are left stranded in the middle of the road on a rainy night when their car breaks down, en route to an off-grid vacation. They end up on the doorstep of a desolate house that houses an odd man. However, things, obviously, get very bad very soon.
Darshana Rajendran and Fahadh Faasil team up again for Irul after my personal favourite C U Soon. That movie was a different cat and mouse game altogether, and this one… well, we’ll talk about that in a bit. Also featuring Soubin Shahir, you expect this movie to be an absolute treat. The cast is the dream team for me, particularly because Faasil never fails to amaze us with his choice of movies.
Faasil’s Unni is… odd. That’s how you can really define it. Although the conversation among the three is free-flowing and intriguing at first, with Unni questioning, probing and quizzing the couple, it turns dark very soon. Unni is also observant and is able to deduce things that are unsaid.
There’s a delightful scene where Unni and Alex have a conversation about his book, the character in it and what the thought process and motivation of the serial killer might have been. Alex’s book, Irul, is based on a real-life serial killer who had killed five women a few years ago. Both the men provide their justifications and reasons behind what they think and the back and forth, captured in a single take, is absolutely delightful to watch.
However, this is also the point where Irul stops being as engrossing as we want it to be. It’s a dark thriller, and we want to feel the thrills and chills that only a psychotic madman can deliver. You see, Faasil is too good at being that madman – you believe him to be one, only for the creators to make us doubt Alex as well. Just like Archana, we too are confused about whether Unni is the killer or Alex. However, unlike Archana who seems to be confused and scared, we are left a little bored.
Irul, I am not gonna lie, drags quite a bit. The movie is technically a maze to figure out who is the real killer of the girl tied up in the basement. However, this 1-hour 31-minute movie does not punch enough mystery or suspense to ever become very engrossing. After a point of time, you’re left to wonder when the thriller will wrap itself up.
However, having said that, it’s the performers who save the day for this movie. Faasil, as I said before, is too good at being the madman. He is believable as a could-be killer, and the madness in his eyes and mannerisms are believable and a little scary. Shahir, who, again, is excellent in any movie he stars in, is also great and believable as the new writer who’s excited to see people read his book. Rajendran, too, is great as the feisty lawyer who’s glued to her phone because, you know, work.
Summing up: Irul
Irul’s trailer showed a lot of promise. But the thriller does not live up to its interesting plot. There are moments of genuine confusion and maybe a little bit of fear. But the movie’s background score is more telling as to where the spooks lie than the actual storytelling. Watch this one for its stellar star-cast, not so much for the story.
Irul is streaming on Netflix.
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