Ratsasan is a dark psycho thriller from director Ram Kumar who last made the enjoyable dark comedy Mundasappati. It is about a serial killer who is on a murder spree and all his victims are school girls. Vishnu Vishal, known for his lighthearted comedies, is very impressive as a cop who tries to solve the gruesome murders.
Arun Kumar (Vishnu Vishal) is an aspiring film director who has written a script on a serial killer. But he cannot find a producer as it is not a commercially viable subject. His family, including his uncle (Ramdoss), forces him to become a cop, a police sub-inspector on government compensatory quota, as his father a policeman died in harness.
After he joins the police force, a series of murders, of young school girls, happen. The scriptwriter in him pieces together evidences that suggest that all four murders are the work of a serial killer and they are interconnected. At the same time, his senior officer, a lady inspector, hates his guts as she finds his modern investigation methods do not fit in with her old school police investigation. A personal loss forces Arun to turn obsessive with the case and a clue leads him to the final twist in the tale.
The film is very well made and keeps us hooked till the interval point. Its screenplay makes it look very convincing. There is a very well conceived scene in the climax when the smart serial killer loses his cool after the hero taunts him emotionally, instead of using his brawn. But after the big reveal is made regarding the identity of the serial killer, the film plods along in a leisurely manner. There is a long drawn climax portion and suddenly, out of nowhere, melodrama is injected into an otherwise taut thriller. And the back story behind the motives of the serial killer is not properly established, which makes the whole narrative look silly. The prosthetic of the murderer also fails to convince you. Actually, the red-herring thrown in the first half of an abusive school teacher would have made for a far better and realistic villain.
However, the film is technically well made with effective background score by Ghibran and stylish editing by San Lokesh, that elevate the thriller. The sound design lends an air of suspense to the narrative, especially in scenes where the hero is hunting for the serial killer. Music is in sync with the editing, which creates a tension in the atmosphere all the time.
Vishnu is in super form and proves that he can be good in a serious role. Amala Paul makes a breezy appearance as the hero’s love interest. There are two songs but they are confined to the background. Ramdoss, as the uncle is good , but Arun’s boss, the lady cop, is an irritation. At times, the film looks too long for a thriller with a runtime of 169 minutes (as per the CBFC certificate), though the actual running time is 152 minutes. On the whole, Ratasasan has many edge of the seat moments but it could have been trimmer.