Ithaca Fantastik Film Festival Movie Review: Miruthan

Welcome witches and warlocks,

Today I will be reviewing the horror/comedy MIRUTHAN by writer/director Shakti Soundar Rajan. To best sum up the story, I will turn to the IMDB plot description:

A chemical experiment goes wrong transforming an Indian town into Zombie Central.  It's up to cop Karthik to save day. 

I find myself often reviewing zombie features, which is funny because I have no great love for the undead cinema.  Sure, there are some greats in there and yes, I do watch "Z-Nation", but, in general, the newly reanimated are not my favorite monster.  It is possible that this idea of having a preferred creature is why I watch so many zombie films; because zombies were the center of the first horror movies I ever watched.  Ever since that point, I think I have been searching for the standouts in the genre in an effort to recapture what first sparked my interest in all things scary. All this is to say that, once again, I find myself reviewing a zombie picture, only this time I am doing the undead by way of the always fascinating Bollywood. 

Let me start off the review proper with this: this feature is a full-fledged Bollywood style production.  Music video segments?  Check!  Unrequited love?  Check!  Odd humor?  Check! Cultural references?  Check!  Over the top acting?  Check!  Every Bollywood cliche is on full display here so it really feels like the full on experience.  This also leads to a very different interpretation of the zombie film as, though the zombie tropes are also present, the Bollywood lens provides a completely different perspective on the reanimated. 

The point of view proves to be more action movie with undead enemies than an actual horror feature.  This is most evident in the fight scenes which come complete with high flying wire tricks set to an epic score.  The combat is really quite excellent with some incredibly well choreographed sequences that are worthy of high praise.  What we lose in the horror section is more than made up for in sheer entertainment value. 

In fact, I honestly could have used a bit more celebration related scenes as the few they provided were so much fun.  For instance, even amidst all the crazy zombie fight scenes we only have one that borders on being a musical scene (I believe there were three musical scenes total) and I would have loved to have had most of these moments being set to song.  Granted, the one they provided proved to be perfection, but after seeing that it became quite obvious how much more entertaining the other major battle sequences would have been if they had also been filmed like a music video. 

Music and fight sequences aside, there are still some appropriately touching moments between the main characters.  Granted, most of these are based around fairly common tropes, but seen through the Bollywood lens of overdramatic music, fans to create epic atmosphere, and longing faces that do prove to be effective.  The blending of genre cliches with cultural staples ends up working because having both together makes them feel different than the usual routine. 

All in all, this never goes so far as to reinvent the zombie genre, but thanks to a successful blending of genre and culture it manages to be pretty darn entertaining.  If the MIRUTHAN 2 that was promised at the end does come to fruition, I would love more musical numbers to augment the experience.  Fans of Bollywood cinema in general and off-kilter zombie fare like SHAUN OF THE DEAD will probably enjoy this movie. 

Nighty Nightmares,
The Creeping Craig