‘The Priest’ movie review: Mammootty’s horror-thriller falls short after initial promise

Debutant director Jofin. T. Chacko balances Mammootty’s star power with the script’s content impressively, but repetitive sequences dull an interesting premise

Subtlety in presentation is something that makers of new-age thrillers (and even horror flicks) focus on — as much as the plot twists and storyline. But when a mainstream star comes into the picture, especially in a star-oriented industry like in Kerala, often subtlety becomes a casualty. In The Priest, debutant Jofin. T. Chacko has the unenviable task of striking such a balance, but gets away almost unscathed in letting the content take precedence over the star… although the same cannot be said if the movie as a whole is considered.

Father Carmen Benedict (Mammooty), who spends more time on criminal investigation than on priestly duties, is investigating a series of suicides in the Alatt family, which he suspects to be murders. During the investigation, he comes across young Ameya Gabriel (Baby Monica), who seems to have a few mysteries of her own.

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The Priest gets many things right in the first half, which remains focused on a series of deaths in the family. In fact, the first half could even work as a stand-alone movie, for the latter half takes off from there on a different tangent, which has nothing much to do with the initial investigation. The one element of surprise the makers kept in store for the interval might not be a surprise at all, for those who have paid enough attention all along.

The Priest

  • Director: Jofin. T. Chacko
  • Starring: Mammootty, Manju Warrier, Nikhila Vimal, Baby Monica
  • Storyline: A priest tries to solve a set of mysterious suicides, which leads to unexpected discoveries

Even in the second half, when the horror elements kick in, the script is on track initially, when it manages to keeps us guessing and alternately evokes some chills. But before long, things end up all over the place, with the audience getting more than a clue on what the mystery is all about. From this point on, one has to plod on through tedious, repetitive sequences for the script to tie up the whole thing officially. The weakest link is perhaps the reason for some of the mysterious happenings, which could make some go, “That’s all?”

A few sequences at ‘explaining’ what actually had happened seems to have been included probably because the makers underestimated the intelligence of the audience. The tone and mood of the whole film is a bit loud and uneven at various points, but it is still a notch better than some of the horror flicks in Malayalam.

Mammootty the star, takes a back-seat most of the times, letting the investigator priest take over, except for a few fan-pleasing scenes, which is a welcome shift from many of his recent movies. Manju Warrier’s role is almost a short cameo, while Baby Monica steals the show as Ameya. However, some of the rather violent sequences involving the child could be hard viewing for other kids and even adults.

Coming from a debutant, The Priest works in parts, but falls short after some initial promise.

The Priest is currently running in theatres

 

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