An engaging thriller
Pancharaaksharam Movie Synopsis: Five friends playfully read passages of doom from a book that can predict an individual’s future. Can they overcome the tragedies that fate has in store for them and rewrite their destinies?
Pancharaaksharam Movie Review: Pancharaaksharam opens with an animated prelude, set in the 11th century Chola period, about the origins of an accursed book that was written to predict the reader’s future, but had to be kept hidden for all that came of it was doom. And it is this very book that five friends unfortunately pick to play a game. For Dushyanth (Santhosh Prathap), who calls himself a traveller, it spells harm from a Satanic child. For Sameera (Madhu Shalini), an aspiring writer, it predicts escape from a grievous situation – but only temporarily. Aidhan (Gokul), a musician, reads a passage that says his life will be in danger from the very art that he loves. The do-gooder Jeevika (Sana Althaf, whose dubbed voice doesn’t suit her) will come face to face with mankind’s darkest depravity. As for Dharma (Ashwin Jerome), who loves the thrill of speed, he might be in an accident. Can the five friends overcome these tragedies that fate has in store for them and rewrite their destinies?
Pancharaaksharam is the kind of film that surprises by simply by being an engaging watch. Director Balaji Vairamuthu sets up the story with quick character introductions and gets into the plot. The film then picks up pace and dashes to a tightly edited and scored interval stretch. The mishmash of genres – there a elements from horror thrillers, psychological horror, and adventure – actually helps in enhancing the eeriness. And in the second half, the film turns into a Saw-like slasher film and thankfully stops short of being torture porn. The film also feels unique thanks to the concepts it keeps talking about – the power of positive thought, dark web and so on.
But the characters are one-dimensional and it banks on the actors to make us care for them. And the five actors do a decent job, though we don’t get a compelling performance. The film also rushes through the portions where four of these characters go in search of fifth one. They find the villain’s hideout quite easily despite the fact that the clues they have in hand are vague. But Yuva’s interesting frames and KS Sundaramoorthy’s vigorous score propel us past these and keep us glued.