‘Matinee’ movie review: A horror-comedy with few jump scares and fewer laughs

A scene from “Matinee”
| Photo Credit: Anand Audio/YouTube

“Matinee,” directed by Manohar Kaampali and led by Sathish Ninasam, doesn’t veer much from the standard fare typically expected from big-hit entertainers. The film introduces its protagonist with a flashy ‘hero entry’ song, along with a romantic duet, gracing each segment of the movie with lead actresses Rachita Ram and Aditi Prabhudeva.

Claiming to mesh horror with comedy, “Matinee” ultimately takes too long to dive into the central narrative, as the plot lacks a cohesive structure. Four companions visit Arun (Sathish) in his expansive residence, expecting a peaceful reunion, only to find themselves unsettled by ghostly occurrences within the mansion.

Matinee (Kannada)

Director: Manohar Kaampali

Cast: Sathish Ninasam, Nagabhushana, Aditi Prabhudeva, Rachita Ram, Shivaram KR Pete, Poornachandra Mysore

Runtime: 133 minutes

Storyline: Arun, an owner of a property in Bangalore, plans a get-together for his friends, but the event is plagued by otherworldly troubles, leaving everyone trapped within his home.

The performers, including Nagabhushana, Shivaram KR Pete, Sathish, and Poornachandra Mysore, are real-life companions, and they portray insular characters who carved their path in the film industry through hard work. The camaraderie they share off-screen was a prime opportunity for the director to craft a compelling tale, given their natural comedic flair.

Nonetheless, the movie’s success hinged on a robust script, something “Matinee” only partially delivers, reminding audiences at times of “Romancham,” a Malayalam hit of 2023. While “Romancham” benefited from director Jithu Madhavan’s sharp focus, “Matinee” seems to scatter giggles and frights rather sparingly throughout its duration.

The attempt to embed humor often misses the mark, causing irritation rather than amusement. Despite the commendable line delivery from Nagabhushana and Shivaram KR Pete, “Matinee” fails to deliver a cinematic experience replete with hearty chuckles or clever plot twists.

ALSO READ: Behind the scenes of the Kannada success ‘Ayogya’ with actor Ninasam Sathish

Mastering the horror genre is no small feat, and the movie’s climactic segment demonstrates this difficulty. “Matinee” inadvertently tips over into comedy when it strives for frights, with directorial choices sparking bemusement rather than bone-chilling terror. Excessive melodrama only adds to the confusion, possibly making audiences question whether the creators lost sight of the film’s horror-comedy aim. Regrettably, “Matinee” also teases the potential for a follow-up, queuing up an entirely different kind of dread for viewers.

“Matinee” is now showing in theaters.

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