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13B - Movie Review

By Aparajita Ghosh
Sat, Mar 07, 2009 17:15 IST

13B Thank God - rather Devil - for a horror film that doesn't pander to the obvious clichés like possessed spirits, exorcists or witchcraft. 13B is a refreshingly different horror film, although a bit long.

The movie tells the story of a joint family that moves into an apartment, 13B, on the 13th floor of a residential building. Everything is hunky dory at first. But then, slowly and creepily, weird incidents begin to happen.

Madhavan , who plays the younger of the two married brothers, is the only one who notices these chilling coincidences. The elevator doesn't work whenever he uses it. The old neighbour's prescient dog refuses to enter the family's apartment. And most importantly, he notices an eerie similarity between the characters of a TV soap and the members of his family (his wife, brother, bhabi, mother, sister, and two kids) who are hooked to the idiot box. He observes that the unfortunate accidents that transpire in the television soap eventually happen to the members of his own family.




Flummoxed and puzzled, he decides to dig deeper and unravel the mystery with the help of his cop friend (Murali Sharma).

Director Vikram K Kumar lays the foundation of story very deftly and gradually takes the film from a feelgood zone to a dark, paranormal, spooky one. Mind you, no ghosts pop out of closets or bathroom tubs. It's the stuck elevators, distorted images on cellphones, flickering bulbs, and the mysterious teleserial with its ominous calamities that gives the jitters. Not to forget the brilliant cinematography by PC Sreeram and excellent background score that's used to build anticipation and then deliver a jolt.

If the director falters, it is in the second half when the mystery is finally unravelled through a convoluted twist that's hardly credible. Without spoiling the suspense let it be said that the clues thrown at you (the old photo album, et al) add together to make a picture that's void of intelligently crafted plots one gets to see in riveting spooky thrillers.

Thankfully, the actors in the film don't disappoint. Madhavan is superb, while Neetu Chandra (playing his wife) is reduced to the sidelines. Poonam Dhillon is perfect as the mother addicted to saas bahu serials. Deepak Dobriyal steals the show for a few minutes. Murali Sharma delivers well.

A movie like '13B' could have done better without songs which serve no other purpose here than to make the movie longer. Yes, the editor should have used his scissors more frequently. Because by the time the mystery unravels, the viewer is too tired to care a hell.

Still, the movie is a good timepass. It doesn't spook the daylights out of you, but it is chilling in parts.

Rating: **1/2



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