The manner in which confined spaces have been utilized to the fullest is laudable, but excessive twists and turns hinder the required tension
A poster of the film
Story: Two IT employees get trapped in their office lift which is haunted by two unknown spirits. Though they crack the pattern behind the dysfunctional lift after several struggles, things go haywire when the spirits unleash their power in full form. Why are the spirits after them? Will they be able to escape?
Review: Horror thrillers made in different backdrops are nothing new to Kollywood. Vineeth Varaprasad's Lift is the latest to join the bandwagon. First things first - the movie, unlike other horror films in Tamil, is set against an unexplored backdrop - an IT company is where the story's premise revolves around. After a bevy of horror movies, which the industry churned out in the recent times, with with clichés galore - dilapidated buildings, haunted bungalow, revenge-seeking spirit, predictable climax and regular actors like Yogi Babu - Lift, for a change, is refreshing to some extent.
The film begins with Guru Prasad (Kavin), an IT employee joining a company in Chennai as a team leader after he is transferred from Bengaluru. He meets HR Harini (Amritha) there - it is the duo's second encounter - they have had a displeasing confrontation in the past. In a long scene in the beginning of the movie which features a partly funny conversation between a newly joined employee and an experienced guy, we get to know how strict the company is with regard to its policies and the cutthroat corporate environment there.
As the employees there leave for home in the evening, Guru is asked by his senior if he could stay for a while to finish a few assignments, to which the former obliges. All alone in the huge office room, and time passing by so quickly, we know where the plot is heading. But the filmmaker takes a little time to build on the horror element. He leaves the room - takes the lift - though he finds its functioning to be weird, he reaches the ground floor, starts his car and moves forward. We wonder if the director has planned to bring in the horror element later.
But Guru realizes he has missed his phone at the office room. He takes the lift again and goes up to his office to pick the phone. He enters the lift for the third time only to realize that the lift has become completely dysfunctional. The presence of spirit there and being witness to two suicides makes things worse for him. Though he heaves a sigh of relief when he finds Harini in another room, they find the presence of one more spirit there. After a few struggles, they come up with an idea to escape from the building, but in vain.
The major positive aspect of the film is its staging and the manner in which confined spaces have been utilized to engaging the audiences with jump scares. Britto Michael's background score and Yuva's cinematography elevate the film's mood and enhances the horror element to a good extent. Despite just two characters, played by Kavin and Amritha, featuring in the lion's share of the film, the proceedings keep us hooked to a certain point. While Kavin aces the role of a happy-go-lucky guy whose life changes topsy-turvy, Amritha impresses in a few scenes with her scary expressions.
On the downside, some of the sequences become repetitive and the excessive twists and turns hinder the required tension. The flashback sequence which appear towards the end should have been more effective. The lack of reason for the spirits going after Guru and Harini weakens the whole plot. A message which the director tries to bring in the third act appears forced and doesn't serve any purpose.
Verdict: The technical aspects and performances of the actors help the film entertain the viewers, while the screenplay and character designing could have been much better.
Lift is streaming on Disney+ Hotstar.