Saturday, July 19, 2014


Burnt Crust 

Once in a while comes a horror film that resets the template and then for years afterwards, everyone slavishly copies its gimmicks. Akshay Akkineni’s Pizza (remake of a hit Tamil film) is a paint-by-numbers horror flick with not an ounce of freshness in it, but there is a novel twist in the end, which leads to a possible sequel.

There are the usual horror devices, creepy bungalow, doors banging shut, lights playing truant, bloody footprints, ghosts with faces painted white, corpses that keep moving to spooky effect.  In fact before something jumps out of the 3D screen, you can see it coming. And, if a horror film begins with a nightmare sequence, it is likely to be a con job throughout.

Kunal (Akshay Oberoi) is a pizza delivery boy and his wife Nikita (Parvathy Omanakuttan) a struggling writer working on a horror novel. For an impoverished couple worried about the baby to come, they live in a rather stylish apartment.

Kunal works in a small outlet, with two other staff, a boss (Rajesh Sharma) who is up to some shady business, and is also in the grip of a tantric because his wife seems to be possessed by an evil spirit.

One evening, Kunal is asked to deliver a pizza to a bungalow. He doesn’t have change, the lady of the house (Dipannita Sharma) goes upstairs to fetch some, the doors slam shut, the power goes off, the phones crash; for the first half of the film, and most of the second, Kunal is trapped in the bungalow, with weird things happening.  The woman’s husband (Arunoday Singh) appears and then turns up dead, a child calls Kunal “Papa,” there’s blood, eerie effects, worms devouring the pizza, and the viewer getting fidgety, wondering if all this is going anywhere.

Akshay gets out of the bungalow eventually, looking shaken and dishevelled, but his wife who had come to rescue him, has vanished. His co-workers have to go back to the bungalow to retrieve his bike and they face some scares too.

After it is revealed what really happened, some of the moments are revealed as phony (for instance, the hands emerging from under the bed, that Kunal who narrates the story to his friends could not have seen), and put in just for effect.

It is shot well, and the grisly bits are all there, so for fans of horror films, this may be a one-time watch. It hasn’t rewritten any genre rules though.


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