It's tricky experimenting with the horror genre. The intent -- besides narrating a captivating tale -- is to terrify, startle and provide those occasional jolts that one would expect from a film belonging to this variety. A taut screenplay that keeps you on tenterhooks coupled with a nail-biting finale, dexterous cinematography, spine-chilling sound effects and effectual background score are the other rudiments that make a paranormal thriller work.
PIZZA, the remake of the Tamil supernatural thriller PIZZA , gets it right on some counts. If you haven't watched the original or are clueless about the plotline, chances are you may be sucked in its world, but the loose ends -- despite an unforeseen twist towards the closing stages -- cannot be ignored.
PIZZA narrates the story of Kunal [Akshay Oberoi], who works at a pizzeria in Mumbai. The employees [Hussain Dalal and D. Santosh] at the pizzeria are his only friends and his wife Nikita [Parvathy Omanakuttan] is someone whom he trusts and enjoys spending time with. His life is limited to delivering pizzas across the city.
Life is a series of regular uneventful days, until one day a pizza delivery goes wrong. Kunal delivers a pizza to a woman [Dipannita Sharma Atwal] and the encounter changes his life for the worse. The experiences in the haunted mansion makes Kunal realize there are supernatural powers in existence.
To make matters worse, when Kunal finally escapes from the house, his wife Nikita goes missing...
The recipe [read written material] is just right -- the constituents that make a bloodcurdling supernatural thriller are all there -- and to give the credit where it's due, debutant director Akshay Akkineni makes sure he startles you on a couple of occasions. The screenwriting is watertight in the initial stages and you keep wondering, what's gonna happen next?
However, the film is not without its share of blemishes. The sequences in the mansion get repetitive after a point. Also, there are times when the on-screen proceedings try hard to send shivers down your spine, but you remain unaffected. Moreover, a couple of paranormal episodes have been stretched for no particular reason. The conclusion too will meet with mixed reactions. Sure, the twist in the tale comes as a surprise, but it isn't persuasive enough to make you feel elated.
The first-time director's vision is encapsulated exceedingly well by the DoP [Jayakrishna Gummadi]. The atmospherics inside the haunted residence -- the protagonist has a mere torch to guide him through the pitch-dark night -- catches your eye. Besides, the movement of the camera enhances the eerie atmosphere and makes it fear-provoking. A film like PIZZA also benefits thanks to the 'toppings' -- sound design and background score. It would be sacrilege to ignore their contribution. However, one wonders why the film has been shot in 3D. It doesn't make much of an impact!
One witnesses a noticeable growth in Akshay Oberoi's performance, who interprets the challenging role with sincerity. The varied emotions that he gets to exhibit -- anxiety, fright, vulnerability -- come across well in several sequences. Parvathy Omanakuttan's perkiness makes the goings-on lively. Dipannita Sharma Atwal and Arunoday Singh don't really get much to do. Also, their makeup is too chalky.
Rajesh Sharma is as usual. Hussain Dalal and D. Santosh are appropriate in their respective parts. Omkar Das Manikpuri doesn't get much to do.
On the whole, PIZZA scares and startles in parts. A condensed, watertight screenplay in the latter half was much desired to create a hammer-strong impact. Yet, the film has its moments!