12 x 1 = 12
12x 2 = 24
12 x 10 = 120
When the writer-director Pavan Kriplani memorized this table of 12 in his 3rd grade, it somehow stayed permanently in the mind. And that came handy when he made ‘Darr @ The Mall’. The funda is simple – Let the chudail kill one person every 12 minutes, so that by the end of 10th iteration, we have killed enough and completed 120 minutes too.
The Ragini MMS director has come up with this horror flick, which is purely a template based movie, where the title appears after the first murder, followed by the hero’s entry to the haunted place, followed by the serial deaths of a closed group. Of course, this is all done for a purpose, which is obviously explained by the ghost at the end to our beloved hero.
Following are the chosen elements that fill the template.
Haunted place – Mall
Hero – Jimmy Shergill, who is appointed as a security head (prop: a torch with Eveready batteries)
Closed group – Mall owner; Mall owner’s muse; Mall owner’s daughter; Mall owner’s daughter’s boyfriend; Mall owner’s daughter’s boyfriend’s sister and so on..
Placing the plot in a mall is the only aspect that makes it a tad different than using a haveli, villa or a hill station. The horror sequences do send shivers down the spine, but only at very few occasions. The trepidation factor becomes pretty low as the movie progresses. The director introduces the size, structure and strength of the ghost too often and too clearly that expect-the-unexpected moments are zero. Till the penultimate five minutes, though the movie doesn’t have extra-ordinary moments, it maintains dignity by not having ridiculous moments/dialogues. Thanks to the climax scene, it fulfills that requirement too.
There is nothing extra-ordinary about the performances either. This is one of the n bad choices Jimmy has made in his career in picking films. Arif Zakaria is wasted too. The sound design helped in getting some sequences click well though. Cinematography was effective in creating the right environment. The monotonous and predictable plot made the 2 hour movie seem like 3 hours.
The insipid horror of Darr @ the mall tries hard to trigger nature’s call but ends up in inflammation of the eye-ball.