Being able to bring out a freshly innovative suspense thriller is one hell of a task for filmmakers. It definitely isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Very feeble amount of films have accomplished in satisfying us by staying true to its genre & giving a load to our brains while watching it. Mystery thrillers in every sense must kindle each and every viewer’s brains while trying to solve it. Do all films succeed in doing it so? Let us bring in some conclusions on how it could be done by bringing in some comparisons from the recently released U turn (2018) that’s being promoted as a ‘great suspense thriller’ & several other films.
Great casting reduces predictability!
In a whodunit genre, the predictability factor is one of the major determining aspects as we all know. How can one make it less predictable? I leave it to the writers on how one can bring in various elements to make it unpredictable. But, I can surely point out on how it shouldn’t be done. I’ve watched the kannada version of U turn (2016). The revelation in the end that the husband was the cause of the accident was a bit of surprise to me only. It was this way because I wasn’t familiar with any of the cast in the kannada version. But, In the tamil version, not just me, even people watching it for the first time were able to predict that Naren was the reason. Why did this occur?
This occured due to the very bad choice of cast. Prominent filmmakers haven’t simply told that casting is half filmmaking done. When one casts a comparatively known face & especially appears on the screen suddenly, it’s quite obvious for the audience to jump into conclusions. Intelligent casting is required when one is trying to excite the viewer. Consider Ko (2011). This film brings the viewers attention mostly on other characters on the screen like prakash raj & editor of the news channel. But, when it turns out to be ajmal, it indeed is a surprise. Even subramaniapuram (2008) is a great example of how casting just complimented the ultimate revelation. Most of our doubts are on the known & more important faces in the film & suddenly we see kanja karuppu taking things into his hands.
Cheat & revelations are different indeed!
In the idea of having twists & ultimate revelations as it is the new trend, we have films that ultimately fail to bring any surprise on our faces. Iravukku aayiram kangal (2018) is one such film that has a very bad twist in the end which is in many ways an annoying experience to us. We fail to understand that, revelations & a cheat are two completely different terms. A revelation can never take the form of a cheat. Take Kathakali (2016). We travel with the protagonist in this film which is vishal. Vishal as per the story knows that he is the killer. In that case, not telling the audience is an ultimate cheat. Iravukku aayiram kangal has something of similar sort.
When we are travelling with one character in the character’s perspective, we will have to see the things as the character sees it. Hiding one such quality & bringing it later on the screen can never be a revelation. Ittefaq (2017) has the same problem where we travel with siddarth malhotra & we don’t know something that he does. Consider Goodachari (2018). This film has us traveling with the protagonist & we know exactly what he knows but we know only that much. So the rest of the events is nothing but a part of revelation to the protagonist himself & naturally to us. This is exactly why Pizza (2012) has one of the devastating twists ever. It cannot be called a twist as it is a mere cheat. We travel with vijay sethupathi in it completely but don’t know some of the events that he was part of that he knows. We were cheated!
A new character as the ultimate revelation will disconnect the audience!
Bringing in a new character to the story that was not visible to the viewer anywhere in the story until the point of revelation is a bad approach. Viewers will instantly disconnect themselves from the story. Aarathu sinam (2016) had one such killer that was only revealed to us in a mere flashback. The protagonist himself hadn’t come in contact with the killer if not for the flash back. Ultimately, the viewer also hasn’t come in contact. In that case, the killer is a complete stranger to us & it wouldn’t be a big deal to us on knowing why and how. But, in thegidi (2014) when the mastermind is revealed to us, we are in complete awe of it. This is because, we came in contact with him as the protagonist did but failed to notice it like him.