Sundar C’s film is an intact commercial entertainer, but a weak horror film

There’s something new from the rest of the films in the franchise and if you’re a fan of commercial cinema that weaves its way through all film genres, then Aranmanai 4 is your cup of tea.

Aranmanai 4 movie review: Sundar C's movie is an intact commercial entertainer, but a lame horror movie

Aranmanai 4

Aranmanai 4

Aranmanai 4 story

Aranmanai 4 revolves around lawyer Saravanan (Sundar C), who receives the news that his once runaway sister Selvi (Tamannaah Bhatia) has died by suicide after receiving the distraught news that her husband has died under mysterious circumstances. As Saravanan and his aunt (Kovai Sarala) rush to their village to provide comfort to Selvi’s daughter and son, he realizes that something sinister is lurking and that it was not suicide that took Selvi’s life. It is up to Saravanan to unravel the events surrounding him and save the rest of his family, with the help of local doctor Maya (Raashii Khanna).

Also Read: Sundar C Reveals Why He Stopped ‘Chasing Big Stars’ – ‘I Survived Because…’

Aranmanai 4 review

Director Sundar C is not a new face in commercial cinema and when it comes to Aranmanai 4, there are no prizes for guessing that the filmmaker has tapped into every possible commercial factor. From slapstick comedy to emotional mother sentiment, the film goes out of its way to tick all the boxes of being a family entertainer, rather than just sticking honestly to the film genre that screams horror. With Aranmanai 4, Sundar C has gone one step further and introduced something new. Unlike the rest of the previous installments, Aranmanai 4 presents a concept called Baak, a human flesh-eating and shape-shifting spirit that haunts the film’s protagonists.

Meanwhile, to keep the commercial aesthetic fresh, there is a plethora of ensemble comedians in the form of Yogi Babu, Kovai Sarala and VTV Ganesh, who try to elicit laughs from their age-old jokes and slapstick humor. At some point it also becomes questionable whether these comedians are needed for a horror story that tries to talk about a new concept. For starters, I wish the film had explored more of Baak, who quickly becomes the lynchpin of the conflict. We are briefly shown his power over people, his bloodlust, and his ability to shapeshift with ease. But as the film tries to salvage its commercial aesthetic and unwanted humor and drama, we see less and less of Baak’s atrocities and origins and more of the wrath of commercial cinema.

Aranmanai 4 rides high on production values. They’re pretty much on point, and we see elaborately executed parts towards the climax, which becomes a visual treat as the film uses the concept of good versus evil. It is also somewhere at this point that Sundar C once again proves that he knows the nitty-gritty of commercial filmmaking by knowing when to introduce a surprise cameo factor, which also fits well with the flow of the story.

But that said and done, Aranmanai 4 still lacks the meaty enough portions to call itself a horror story. While the first half is all over the place, the film takes a long time to establish a strong foundation to connect the dots, and by the time it does, there are high chances for some to find a lack to develop interest. Had the makers treated the film in all its horror elements, Aranmanai would have been a film that broke the need for genre films in Tamil cinema. But unfortunately, just as Baak consumes human flesh, so do commercial sensibilities with fruitful storylines.

Aranmanai 4 is the best of the Aranmanai franchise. It has a significant amount of story to add to its backbone, decent performances backed by Tamannaah, Raashii and Sundar C. Unlike the previous films that dealt with the same personal revenge stories, Aranmanai 4 breaks out of the clutches of repetition, and there there is some writing that is incorporated into it. But that’s not enough for the film to succeed. The inconsistency in the first half, the mildly researched characterizations and the overwhelming aesthetics of commercial cinema take Aranmanai 4 from what it could have become.

Also read: Interview with director Sundar C: Only Aranmanai 4 will decide the fate of the fifth installment

Aranmanai 4 verdict

Aranmanai 4 is a film that is a far cry from what the film franchise initially looked like. There is something new and if you are a fan of commercial cinema that cuts its way through all film genres, then Aranmanai 4 is for you. But if you go for a true horror movie, you’re in for a disappointment, because Baak isn’t the only one to ruin your moment.

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