Guess why one sees a horror / thriller film? Obviously to get a shrill down the spine. However, let us inform you that horror is always a tricky genre to deal with. Intimidating people is a tough task. That's perhaps the reason why we don't come across many horror films these days. Director Wilson Louis is successful in bits and pieces to instill fright through MALLIIKA.
There are some horror films which play with your minds without actually showing you eerie stuff (PARANOMAL ACTIVITY). And then there are films which resort to gory scenes. MALLIIKA falls in the latter category.
MALLIKA has all the ingredients of a typical Bollywood horror flick. A malevolent spirit seeking revenge, numerous murders, an exorcist, all of which we have seen umpteen times in the past. However, the technicalities and execution of Wilson is novel. Right from the word go, his intentions are clear- 'I want to scare people'. Perhaps, he could have spent some time in establishing the characters and created a buildup in the initial portions. He doesn't allow you to get out of the fear mode right through, barring a few (forced) songs and comic scenes. He's so much into trying to frighten that plot doesn't seem to appear.
Wilson tries to induce fear by creepy camera angles and background score, creating the feeling that something eerie is in store. He scores in constructing the anticipation of fear rather than scaring, as what ensues isn't spooky.
The film has some amazingly shot scenes and an effective but loud background score. The technicalities don't account for an honorable horrifying feel, as the result is merely a natural reflex action to stimulus rather than fanatical fear. Also, there could have been some silent moments rather than being loud through out, for a better impact.
There are moments which scare the hell out of you. Like the one in the beginning where a ghost appears near the fridge or the one in which Maya's (Pooja Ballutia) body defies gravity and lands up on the ceiling.
Coming to the story, Sanjana (Sheena Nayyar) decides to take a break and go on a vacation after getting repeated nightmares of a murder that probably took place in her house years before she moved in. Her holiday destination is an eerie looking and secluded fort cum resort in Rajasthan. It doesn't prove to be a wise decision at all as the fort is itself haunted. She meets Saahil (Sameer Dattani) on her way to the fort, who intends doing some research on the fort.
The story lacks novelty. Till the first half there's little clue as to where the film is headed. Moreover, the spirit only attacks people, who are 'characterless', which is farcical. The climax is too stretched and lacks punch. Also, two ghosts appearing at the same time is baffling.
On the performances front, Sheena Nayyar is decent but needs to brush up her acting skills. Sammir Dattani stays in his element. Himanshu Malik is completely wasted. Rajesh Khera is passable while Mamik hams.
MALLIKA is a decent attempt which could have been much better if some more attention was paid to the script.