Kannamoochi: An indifferent web series where the horror isn’t scary and the thriller has no mystery
At the outset, Kannamoochi had the potential to be an interesting thriller. The premise revolving around child abduction — especially given it’s a girl child — itself gives the story its tension. But the web series flounders it.
Serial Chiller is Ranjani Krishnakumar’s monthly column about all things Tamil television. Read more from the series here.
A young single-mother, Priya, moves to a multi-storied apartment complex in the outskirts of Chennai with her daughter, Aishu. Even before the family gets the chance to settle down, Aishu is abducted, the police turn unhelpful, strange things happen, and the mother is pushed to adopt desperate means to find her daughter. Whether she saves Aishu and how she gets there is what makes the rest of Kannamoochi (Hide and Seek), Zee5’s new Tamil web series.
At the outset, Kannamoochi had the potential to be an interesting thriller. The premise revolving around child abduction — especially given it’s a girl child — itself gives the story its tension. Poorna, who plays the mother, adequately brings maternal anxieties and fears alive on screen. Add to it the unfamiliarity and unkindness of a new city, there was enough to tell an engrossing tale.
But Kannamoochi flounders it. To begin with, the series hangs in the non-committal mid-way between thriller and horror. The thriller parts have no mystery. The protagonist and her allies don’t pick up pieces, follow a trail, or chase real-world clues about the present-day crime. They just run around town screaming, “Aishooo… Aishooo…”, grasping at straws solving another crime that happened several years ago. They expect us to believe that obsessing about past crime is the only way to solve the present one.
There is no police investigation to speak of, the cops just laze around. Yet, one fine morning, inspiration strikes the inspector, who just gathers up a bunch of pimps and asks them who the kidnapper might be. “You have children too,” he urges. And voila! We are ready to rush to the climax.
The horror parts aren’t scary enough either. We get the regular fare — flickering lights, malfunctioning elevators, a girl who only Priya can see etc. There are no jump scares, nothing creeping up on us, nothing that even shakes us up, let alone any meaningful supernatural intervention to the happenings. In fact, in several places, the horror elements are just convenient, pushing the story along in directions that might be difficult to take with logical explanation.
This is probably why writer Aathithya GR and director Avinaash Hariharan spend so much time on flashbacks that serve as explanations for things that hardly need to be explained. Isn’t it enough that Priya is a single-mother? Does the series have to satisfy our need for gossip with a backstory about what happened to the father? Would it be difficult to believe that a food delivery person volunteers to help a woman, who lost her child in his company, and is also new to the city? Do we need a flashback about him seeking redemption? More importantly, do we need to see the villain’s lecherous past?
All this time might have been better used in strengthening the mystery and exploring the world that enables this. But the series isn’t interested in that. There is a bizarre sidebar about child porn — the scene presses more on a government-issued laptop than child porn itself. There might be an angle about cryonics too, but by now, we have lost interest.
In five episodes of about 25 minutes each, Kannamoochi is harried. The game of hide-and-seek as a thematic undercurrent is flimsy. Overall, it ends up being an indifferent effort devoted neither to the craft or the cause.
Ranjani Krishnakumar is a writer, obsessor and a nascent Chennai-vasi. You can reach her at @_tharkuri
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