Chandramukhi 2 Review: An Unwanted sequel which can be avoided. 

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Chandramukhi 2 Review in one word: An Unwanted sequel that has the worst horror and comedy.

  • Language: Tamil 
  • Director: Vasu P
  • Duration: 171 Mins
  • Genre: Comedy, Horror
  • POSITIVES
  • Story
  • Direction
  • Performance of Raghava  Lawrence
  • Performance of Lakshmi Menon 
  • Performance of Kangana Ranaut
  • NEGATIVES
  1. Screenplay
  2. Comedy
  3. Performance of Vadivelu
  4. VFX
  5. SFX
  6. BGM
  7. Stunts
  8. Songs
  • STORY IDEA

A wealthy family faces several problems in their business and the solution for these problems is to go to the temple of their deity with their entire family to pray to their deity, they stay in a haunted palace, as usual after plenty of warning one of the family members awakes the sleeping spirit of Chandra Mukhi, the classical dancer. Then she gets possessed by the spirit of Chandramukhi and wants to kill King Vettiyan who killed her by burning her alive. So the protagonist saves the family member by risking his own life. 

  • DETAIL REVIEW

Chandramukhi is a popular Tamil language horror-comedy film released in 2005, starring Rajinikanth,  Prabhu, and Jyothika. That story revolves around a psychiatrist who cures a woman who is possessed by the spirit of Chandramukhi. 

Chandramukhi 2 is the prequel of Chandramukhi. The lead role was played by the actor Raghava  Lawrance. He was in the role of reuniting the family. The film begins with the visuals of burning factories and an accident with poor CG.  Then from nowhere, a priest arrives at their home and informs them that these problems are because they all didn’t serve the Clan deity temple so the solution to get over all these problems is to lighten the lamp of their deity temple and worship their deity god. The entire family should participate in the ritual. The separated families due to religious issues are coming together for the ritual. So when the entire family gets together they need a Huge house to stay and for that purpose, they rent this Chandramukhi palace.

Vadivelu is the owner of the palace; he just wants to sell the property but no one is ready to buy the place because of the history of the palace. Vadivelu warns everyone about the restricted place in the palace and says no one should get into that place, even after all the restrictions a member of their family gets into the restricted place and releases the spirit of Chandramukhi.

The spirit possesses Lakshmi Menon; she wears a property of Chandramukhi. Then the spirit of vettaiyan will also be released after the ritual is done in the temple. To save Lakshmi Menon  Vettaiyan should die and Raghava  Lawrance is Vettaiyan so he risks his life to save her.  The same concept of Chandramukhi 1.

  • Direction 

Fresh Perspective: P Vasu brings a fresh perspective to the franchise by focusing on the relationship between the two female leads. He introduces new characters and plots, giving the film a distinct identity while maintaining continuity with the first film.

Slow Pacing: The film’s pacing is deliberate and slow, allowing the audience to absorb the story and connect with the characters. The setup is elaborate, and the director takes his time to establish the protagonists’ lives and their dynamics.

Atmosphere and Tension: P Vasu creates an eerie atmosphere right from the beginning, slowly building tension as the story progresses. He uses long shots, close-ups, and clever camera angles to maximize the impact of the horror elements.

Performance Extraction: The director extracts excellent performances from his actors, particularly Kangana Ranaut and Raghava Lawrance. Their interactions are natural, and their expressions and gestures augment the film’s emotional quotient.

Sound Design: The sound design in Chandramukhi 2 is effective and complements the visuals. From the creaking doors to the eerie whispers, the audio elements contribute significantly to the film’s scariness and tension.

Visually Appealing: The film is visually appealing, with vibrant colours and crisp cinematography. The palace setting adds to the grandeur and mystique of the story, making it a treat to watch.

Storytelling Techniques: P Vasu uses a range of storytelling techniques to engage the audience, such as flashbacks, dream sequences, and symbolism. He also incorporates cultural references and beliefs to root the story on Indian soil.

Horror Elements: While the film relies on jump scares, it also incorporates other horrific elements, such as possessions, curses, and paranormal activities. The director handles these elements skillfully, balancing shock value with storytelling.

Emotional Connection: P Vasu ensures that the audience develops an emotional connection with the characters, making the scary moments even more impactful. The film explores themes of love, loss, and trauma, keeping the audience invested in the story.

Homage to the Original: The film pays homage to the original Chandramukhi while also offering something new. P Vasu respects the source material while adding his spin to the franchise.

The direction of the film wasn’t good. P. Vasu is a good director but this film is not his cup of tea.  A major drawback of this film is its almost 3 hours. This could have been shortened to 2 hours or less. It can’t be termed as a full-fledged horror movie, not even a single frame scared the audience. 

  • Screenplay

The screenplay of Chandramukhi 2 has several strengths and weaknesses:

Strengths:

  • Engaging concept: The idea of exploring multiple personalities and possessions is intriguing and provides ample opportunities for suspense and thrills.
  • Well-structured plot: The screenplay is well-organized, with a clear three-act structure that builds tension and suspense throughout the story.
  • Character development: The protagonist, Pandian, is well-written and relatable, with a compelling backstory that adds depth to her character.
  • Scary moments: The screenplay includes several chilling scenes that will keep audiences on the edge of their seats, particularly in the second half of the film.

Weaknesses:

  • Predictable twists: Some of the plot twists and revelations are easy to anticipate, which reduces the surprise factor and tension.
  • Lackluster dialogue: The dialogue in some parts of the film feels clunky and forced, which can detract from the overall impact of the scene.
  • Underutilization of characters: Other than Pandian, the rest of the characters feel underdeveloped, which means their actions and decisions don’t carry as much weight as they should.
  • Clichéd horror elements: The film employs many familiar tropes of the horror genre, such as dark corridors, flickering lights, and possessed children, which can feel tired and overused.

The reason why I felt that the movie was stale and repurposed, is not only due to this familiar storyline but also the constant callbacks to certain iconic moments of Chandramukhi featuring Rajinikanth and Vadivelu.

The filmmakers have largely depended on repeating the success of the previous movie by using it as a formula. Even certain shots, like the close-up of the eyes when one of the family members is possessed by Chandramukhi, or the shot of three people peeping out of a small window to see the possessed Chandramukhi dancing, are all the same. 

Even the role of a house help, which was played by Nayanthara in Chandramukhi is back. Only, in this film, the young woman is played by Mahima Nambiar. She is paired with Raghava Lawrence.

  • PERFORMANCE OF ACTORS:
  1. Raghava  Lawrance : 

In the movie, he played the lead role of Pandian, a character possessed by a vengeful vettaiyan. His performance was praised for its versatility, as he successfully portrayed both the comedic and horror elements of the character. But the way he performed was not new the same as the horror films he had done in his past (Muni, Kanchana, etc.) the same expression and same family emotions which was boring. The flashback was good and the way he performed there was great. He lived in the character of Sengottaiyan and Vettaiyan. Raghava Lawrence is always special for his dance but in this film, there is no dance. The stunts performed by him were so boring and lagged,  the entire stunts and the fight choreography were out of logic, and that made us feel irritated. 

  1. Vadivelu: 

Vadivelu’s comedy and timing in “Chandramukhi” were widely appreciated, and his performance added to the overall entertainment value of the movie. But in Chandramukhi 2 his performance didn’t meet the expectations of the audience and his plot was too weak. The comedy he tried didn’t work out. The entire comedy portion is a scrap. The major disadvantage of this film is Vadivelu.  Though he has been experienced in this industry for decades his performance was boring in this film.

  1. Lakshmi Menon:

Lakshmi Menon was appreciated for her natural acting style and her ability to portray relatable and down-to-earth characters. Her Performance was decent.  She was not overreacting; her natural acting made her character beautiful and interesting. Her version of Chandramukhi was not equal to Jyothika’s Performance but it was natural and good. 

  1. Kangana Ranaut: 

Kangana brings a lot of energy and conviction to her role, and she can convey a sense of authority and confidence that is fitting for her character’s profession. She has a strong presence on screen, and her performances in the dramatic and intense scenes are quite effective. One of the standout aspects of Kangana’s performance is her ability to portray vulnerability and empathy. Her extremely hot look didn’t allow the viewers to take their eyes away from the screen. 

  • MUSIC AND TECHNICAL ASPECTS:
  • BGM

One of the primary issues with the BGM is that it’s too loud and overbearing. The soundtrack consists mostly of synthesized sounds and drumbeats, which are blasted at high volumes, becoming grating and overwhelming. This approach might have been taken to create a sense of unease and anxiety, but it ends up feeling more annoying than unsettling.

Furthermore, the BGM rarely complements the narrative or enhances the emotions of a scene. Instead, it often feels disconnected from what’s happening on screen, creating a jarring experience for the viewer. There are times when the music cues don’t match the tone of the scene, taking away from the intended impact. For example, in some supposedly scary moments, the music comes across as cartoonish rather than frightening. There are a few occasions when the BGM shows promise, such as in the opening credits sequence or during a couple of intense confrontation scenes. However, these moments are few and far between. Most of the time, the background score is either distractingly loud or inconsequential, failing to add anything meaningful to the film. Overall, the BGM of Chandramukhi 2 is disappointing. Its heavy-handedness dilutes the effectiveness of the horror elements and detracts from the overall quality of the film. A better approach would have been to use subtler, more nuanced scoring techniques to build tension and amplify the emotions of each scene.

  • Cinematography

One of the main issues with the cinematography is that it lacks consistency. Some scenes are well-lit and framed nicely, while others appear dull and lacking in depth. In particular, the interior scenes, especially those shot at night, tend to look dimly lit, which makes it difficult to see what’s happening on screen. This is particularly noticeable during the climax, where important moments are obscured by poor lighting.

Another problem is the overuse of close-ups. Throughout the film, there are numerous tight shots of characters’ faces, which becomes repetitive and takes away from the overall atmosphere of the scene. This technique works best when used sparingly, but in Chandramukhi 2, it happens too frequently, making it feel more like a TV serial than a feature film.

On the positive side, some of the aerial shots of the mansion and surrounding areas look nice and provide a sense of scale. Additionally, a few scenes showcasing the supernatural aspects of the story are visually interesting, such as the sequences involving mirrors or ghostly apparitions. These moments hint at what could have been if the entire film had received the same level of attention to detail.

  • VFX

The VFX in Chandramukhi 2 is generally adequate but not exceptional. The film’s CGI work is serviceable for the most part, but it’s not as sophisticated or detailed as what you might see in bigger-budget Hollywood productions.

Some of the VFX shots in Chandramukhi 2 look fine, such as the flying spirits, the possession scenes, and the flashback sequences. However, other shots, like the green screenshots, are conspicuous and detract from the overall visual quality. The compositing and integration of live-action and computer-generated elements could have been done better in some instances, resulting in a less seamless viewing experience. Additionally, some of the creature designs, specifically the demonic entities, appear overly simplistic and lack texture and complexity. They come across as cartooni at times, which doesn’t help sell the gravity and danger of the situation. Despite these limitations, the VFX team behind Chandramukhi 2 has tried to create an immersive experience. They’ve employed various techniques, like camera tricks, matte paintings, and set extensions, to create the illusion of a haunted world. However, the execution could have been better in places, making the visual effects feel uneven.

  • SFX

Ghost effects: The film showcases various ghostly creatures and apparitions, and the SFX team has done an excellent job of bringing them to life. From the creepy-looking Pandian to the ghost Lakshmi Menon, the special effects used for these characters are realistic and terrifying. 

  • CONCLUSION:

I’m not satisfied with the film, there are plenty of logical errors, and a lagging screenplay, an unwanted insertion of sequence which distracted my eye from the story. I’m extremely disappointed by the performance of Vadivelu. The jokes and the comedy which he was trying didn’t hit the audience.  This sequel was about King Vettaiyan and the classical dancer Chandramukhi. The weightage in their stories was not enough and the flashback contains a terrible story. The second half was a little good and the performance of Ragawa Lawrence wasn’t satisfying. 

  •  VERDICT: AVERAGE 
  •  RATING: 2/5

A REVIEW BY Gideon Jotham