True Review: 3 A.M.by Niharika Puri September 27 2014, 3:28 pm Estimated Reading Time: 2 mins, 36 secs
Critics Rating: 1.5 Stars*
Cast: Rannvijay Singh, Salil Acharya, Kavin Dave, Anindita Nayar
Direction: Vishal S Mahadkar
Produced: Handprint Pictures, Essel Vision Productions Ltd
Written: Vishal S Mahadkar.
Duration: 1 Hrs 50 Mins
Here’s a film that goes down the beaten path in desi horror by borrowing heavily from found-footage genre-flicks like Paranormal Activity and The Blair Witch Project without coming remotely close to their league.
The opening explains away the title as that fateful hour when spirits are the most active. If that is enough to strike fear in the hearts of jumpy insomniacs, this is the film for you. That is, until, it begins to decline at a rapid pace.
Sunny (Rannvijay Singh) is a happy TV show presenter. He seems successful enough professionally, has an ethereal girlfriend Sera (Anindita Nayar, as beautiful as her accent is jarring) for arm candy and a pretty slick bachelor pad that is conducive to nocturnal friskiness.
Sera, as research on Mumbai’s most haunted places, goes to the portentous Rudra Mills where her dead body is discovered the next day. Devastated, Sunny shuts himself away from human contact till he emerges from his man cave with bleary eyes and grim determination. He tells his producers Raj (Kavin Dave) and Cyrus (Salil Acharya) that he has a great new concept for reality television: filming the supernatural elements at work in some of the city’s most haunted hotspots.
The starting point? Rudra Mills. This idea, incredibly, is Okayed by the channel, never mind if Sunny went into self-imposed exile because his girlfriend went to research on the same topic to the same location. Insert a creepy backstory on the charred mills, where evil mill owner Rudra Pratap Singh performed animal sacrifices and burnt his workers alive. His malignant soul wanders the winding corridors, looking for prey. As the film progresses, you realise he has very odd ways of reaching that end.
It is into this dingy hell that Sunny, Raj and Cyrus set foot into, to film the TV show. The idea behind the concept is to analyse the unseen forces through scientific explanations, never mind if the trio carry no relevant equipment or bring along experts for said purpose.
They also have a way of bringing the spirits out – by cajoling or taunting them, the latter being a terrible policy while on the home turf of a homicidal entity. When the hostile phantom laughs because of Cyrus’ taunts, he actually replies with the classic – “Abbe mazaak lag raha hai tujhe?”
Just when you resign yourself to a film, where despite the weak scares, there are decent performances backing it up, the story teleports itself to a flashback for the characters vacationing in Goa for no real reason. That completely kills the anticipation for a boring climactic showdown. The resolution is worthy of a facepalm or several.
Neither delivering on frightening moments nor being laughably bad, 3 AM makes for bland viewing despite a promising build-up. Avoidable, unless you are Rannvijay fans. If not for him, there is precious little holding the film together.