Cast: Akshay Oberoi, Parvathy Omankuttan, Rajesh Sharma, Dipannita Sharma, Arunoday Singh, Omkar Das Manikpuri
Director: Akshay Akkineni
A pizza delivery boy can be an unwitting witness to some truly bizarre happenings: you go to the doorstep to pick up your pie, he is ready with a hand outstretched for the money, and maybe a tip. You ask him to wait while you find the correct change, he steps in, and the door bangs shut. And then comes a bloodcurdling scream..
Neat premise for a horror film, and 'Pizza' runs with it, falteringly at the start, and getting it together as it goes along but never really acing it. The debutant director (Akknineni is top editor Sreekar Prasads son; Prasad has edited the film) shows he has an eye : some of the scary moments are well done, and you jump a little. But theres not enough sharpness or consistency in the build-up, and the in-between stuff sags.
Kunal (Oberoi) scoffs at the supernatural, but is surrounded by people who believe in it. His pregnant wife Nikita ( Omankuttan) , his boss ( Sharma) whose wife seems to be possessed by an evil spirit, and whose dodgy associates include a sadhu who doubles up as an exorcist (Manikpuri), and his pizza outlet colleagues who seem unnaturally concerned by the bosss marital troubles.
A remake of the surprise Tamil hit of the same name, the film proves a point. That successful horror doesnt need stars, it needs a solid script, and atmospherics. The bodies with axes jutting out, the trail of bloody feet, the wriggly maggots in the pizza, are all to the good, but the story-telling needed to have been better.
The Tamil film is superior because it has smarts AND suspense : its send-up of the genre is skilful, and the lead pair is having a blast. The thing between Oberoi and Omankuttan doesnt have flash, though the former does a good job of looking petrified, as he flails about in the house of horrors, armed with a flashlight, trying to get out .
What I liked about the film is its refusal to weigh anything down with false portent. The horror bits are efficiently done even though my 3D glasses didnt give me anything extra . An entire portion in the second-half delivers a mild shiver a minute, but at no point did I feel like closing my eyes (my index of how scary the film is), and there were some points where a laugh escaped me: those bits were unwittingly funny.
Pizza will give you some nice chills, and a little twist in the end, which is not as a surprise as it should have been. While we wait for the sequel, try catching the Tamil original (its out with subtitles), for a slice of pizza with extra cheese.
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