Sat. Jan 28th, 2023

Movie Rating : 3.5/5

Vazhiye (original Malayalam title: വഴിയെ, transl. The Trail) is a 2022 Indian Malayalam-language independent found footage horror film written and directed by Nirmal Baby Varghese after Thariode. This movie is an experimental movie made in found footage style and it is the first found footage movie in Malayalam. Produced by Baby Chaithanya under the banner of Casablanca Film Factory. The film marked the debut of Hollywood music director Evan Evans in Indian cinema.

Attempting to jump-start his channel, an aspiring Youtube creator and his girlfriend set out to look into the stories about a haunted section of woods nearby that would be perfect fodder to explore for his channel, but when they arrive find a far greater evil than they expected.

There’s a lot to like with this one. Among the better features here is the traditional and formulaic setup that introduces everything and sets the film off rather nicely. Introducing his channel’s content and the frustration at its lack of growth hints at the need to be spiced up with more appealing content while also setting up the idea of the journey to the mysterious area nearby. None of this is particularly original or unique, but it nicely serves the function of getting the group out into the woods nearby away from help. It’s also helped along nicely by the constant check-ins with his girlfriend and the gorgeous travelog footage to create an impressive starting point. That setup provides the film with some creepy moments once everything gets going. After arriving at the spot in the woods, they go hiking through the area providing some immensely atmospheric sequences. These take on several impressive attributes, from the random walking through the woods filled with chirping bird calls to the fishing adventure, or the strange encounter with them inside the tent at night which sets the stage for the chilling finale to come. The twists and turns that emerge here are quite enjoyable, introducing the hunters and their quest to track down and knock off the various intruders resulting in the frenetic chases to get away from everyone. While there’s a lot to like, this one also has a few issues. The main drawback featured here is the wholly unnecessary and outright confusing storyline involving the kidnappers getting involved in the story. They come out of nowhere with no build-up or proper introduction, have no proper plan spelled out for the whole operation, and waste large amounts of time. It comes about either through flashbacks showing them trailing the couple the entire time or stopping the film cold for a native dance performance that doesn’t need to be there. With the formulaic setup also coming into play, these aren’t completely detrimental but bring the film down somewhat.

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