Petromax movie review: Tamannaah is reduced to cliches and sidelines in this average horror comedy
Petromax was promoted as a Tamannaah-led horror comedy. But she has little to do other than spotting her famous smile or startled look.
castTamannah, Prem, Munishkanth, Kaali Venkat, Sathyan, Tsk
The horror comedy genre is one of the most successful formulas in Kollywood, and rarely does it fail. Even if these low-cost films, with mostly little known stars, does not live up to expectations from theatrical collections, money can be made from sale of digital and satellite rights. Petromax is the new film which joins the list, though there is little horror, and more slapstick.
Petromax is a remake of Telugu hit Anandho Brahma, and is directed by Rohin Venkatesan, his second film after the promising Adhe Kangal. It was promoted as a Tamannaah-led horror comedy. But she has little to do other than spotting her famous smile or startled look. The entire film runs on the steam of four comedians – Munishkanth, Kaali Venkat, Sathyan, and TSK. In a way, it is their scenes and gimmicks that make the film enjoyable to a certain extent.
The story takes place in a supposed haunted house, owned by a rich NRI Sarvanan (Prem) from Malaysia, who wants to sell it after the ‘death’ of his parents. A bad guy, who runs a liquor shop along with a friend of Saravanan, scares away prospective buyers. Actually the bungalow is possessed by four friendly spirits, led by Meera (Tamannaah), who have an agenda of their own. Sarvanan ropes in four guys, Munishkanth, Kaali Venkat, Sathyan, and TSK, who are hard up for cash, challenges them to live in the ‘haunted house’, and prove it is ‘spirit free’. The ‘ghost busters’ take up the challenge owing to their desperate condition. Subsequently, a plot twists happens that unites them against a common enemy.
There is a backstory for all the four characters, which takes most of the time, and diverts attention from the central theme of the film. It is obvious the director had brought them together to provide some comedy to keep the audiences chuckling, and increase the run time. And these are the fun moments in the film, like Kaali Venkat needs to have his daily fix of booze exactly at 9 pm, and his blabbering with real ghosts. TSK is a crazy fan of Tamil actors, and his take on Vikram and his split personality in Anniyan even scares the ghosts! Sathyan, as a watchman with supposed hearing problem, is actually blind so he cannot see the ghosts! And Munishkanth, taken for a ride with his one-sided love story, also brings a few laughs. At the end of the film, what remains with the viewers, and saves the film is the mirth provided by the four comedians.
And in the climax, a bit of “Amma’ sentiment, and some emotional scenes are thrown in, making you wonder why they bought in the horror angle at all. The film, a little over two hours, is stretched in the second half, which leaves you exhausted. Among other things, Ghibran’s background score and Danny Raymond’s camera are the plus points. On the whole, Petromax is more of a time pass comedy caper than a horror film.
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