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Noisy Silence

Saturday, April 14, 2018
By Deepa Gahlot

Mercury
Director:
Karthik Subbaraj
Cast: Prabhudeva, Sananth, Indhuja, Deepak Paramesh, Shashank Purushottam, Anish Padmanabhan and others
Rating: * *

Karthik Subbaraj’s Mercury claims to be the “first silent thriller in Indian cinema” , presumably disqualifying Pushpak because it was more comedy than thriller. However, it is not constructed as a film in which characters do not speak, but one in which they are speech-impaired and use rather voluble sign language. The background is filled with the racket of Santosh Narayanan’s music score. The director whose Pizza and Jigarthanda were hits, tries a horror experiment and does not quite succeed.

Five youngsters (Sananth, Indhuja, Deepak Paramesh, Shashank Purushottam, Anish Padmanbhan) gather at a remote forest bungalow for a birthday celebration. They are mute, because the town was poisoned by a mercury plant that looms ominously in the dark.

On a drive on the narrow roads they hit a man (Prabhdeva), and try to hide the body in the disused factory grounds. Somehow they get into the factory and have to save themselves from a malevolent spirit.

The plot is a slasher genre regular – I Know What You Did Last Summer and Friday the 13th— that kind of revenge drama. The recent A Quiet Place used silence and sign language far more effectively. In Mercury, if the characters’ impairment is a gimmick, the solemn environmental message hammered in is pure hokum. There is little connection between environmental disasters and this horror movie.

A romance is half-heartedly included, but since the audience does not get to know the characters at all, their well-being seems of little concern, or only to the extent that nobody wants teens to be slaughtered. Casting Prabhudeva, covering him in gore and not giving him a dance sequence would sink the film for the star’s fans. In any case it is a dreadful bore…a noisy one at that!

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