The Malayalam horror-thriller could be an ideal case study for upcoming filmmakers on what not to do when making a film
The premise of the film revolves around a newlywed who moves into a new bungalow in the district of Wayanad in Kerala. The ‘honeymoon period’ of their lives is interrupted when an old friend asks for temporary refuge at their residence, which unsurprisingly becomes the catalyst for their world descending into chaos.
The opening scene of the movie offered some promise, but within a couple of minutes of the first utterance of dialogue, the film reveals what it truly is - a poorly written and terribly executed film on the foundation of a weak script; a script which is a random collection of half-cooked ideas borrowed from several other stories.
Ideally, for any story the opening ten minutes is crucial for setting up the arcs for the characters, the film has two songs instead. It gives the impression that songs are in place to make up for the lack of a half-decent screenplay, similar to putting a band-aid over a laceration. While renowned filmmakers often attempt unconventional methods like abandoning the age-old three-act structure used in the screenplay, Ooha has in fact adopted a very confusing structure.
While there is the first act to set up the story, even though it fails to accomplish its purpose, the second and third acts are diluted. The obstacles the protagonist has to overcome are non-existent, which means the third act becomes more like a chore. The one area where the film could have found redemption was with the myth of the occult, the horror elements, and how the jump-scare scenes were handled, however, even those were botched and ineffective. The final scenes were extremely poorly written and plagued with significant issues both thematically and narratively.
The indie film directed and written by the lead actor, Sreejith Panickar, could be forgiven for its shortcomings, as the cast and crew are newcomers to the industry. But considering the fact that the Malayalam film industry has been churning out high-quality content for both big and independent studios alike, the expectations of the audience are very high, leaving very little room for error in making films for the industry. The performances by the cast were equally underwhelming, and there was no chemistry between the lead actors.
The film is a cluster of unnecessary songs, giant plot holes, poor character development, and forgettable performances, and an uninspired script.