It has always been known that life exists across parallel yet different plains, but the most intriguing being the plain that houses the realm of the spirit world. For ages, man has been engaged in the never ending quest of finding and proving that such a realm exists, with reports from every corner of the world sporadically throwing up instances of paranormal activity, the theory of ghosts, spirits and the undead have gained momentum and even films being made on the same.
In Indian cinema, the horror genre has certainly come a long way since the Ramsay brothers' films, with the advancement in technology, visual effects, prosthetics and general filmmaking abilities, the viewer is subject to a more enriching, in this case, thrilling and chilling experience. And that's exactly what 3 AM promises. Whether it lives upto its promise, let's analyze.
3 AM starts off with Sunny (Rannvijay Singh), a reality show host who is on the pinnacle of his flamboyant career enjoying with his friends Raj (Kavin Dave), and Cyrus (Sahil Acharya) at a party where he proposes to his love Sarah (AninditaNayar) who is a journalist by profession. Post the revelry, Sarah sets off on an expose of sorts with the story she is writing on the most haunted locations of Mumbai, with Rudra Mills, a dilapidated, closed mill, in focus. Sunny ridicules her by stating his disbelief in ghosts. However, on one fateful night, when Sunny is fast asleep, he gets woken up by the wailing woman's cry. He wakes up but is unable to get up. He sees the clock on the wall and its 3 am. He sees Sarah crying sitting in a dark corner in his room. He tries to talk but he can't. He tries to move, but he can't do that either. Finally, she walks over to him and tells him that she is sorry. She tells him that she would always love him and that it was time for her to leave now. She kisses him good night and says "I'll miss you my love". Sunny gets up with a jolt, and runs to his phone, trying to call Sarah but her phone is switched off. Finally, after a few attempts he gives up. Just then the phone rings and he runs to it expecting Sarah's call, but hears her father on the other end who informs Sunny that Sarah was found hung, at Rudra Mills, at 3am.
Shaken by this loss, Sunny hits the bottle trying to comprehend his experience with Sarah's spirit that completely fractures Sunny's mind. Later, Sunny sets out on a mission to prove the existence of the afterlife, believing that if he does manage to prove that ghosts do actually exist, he would be reunited with his love, at some point.Do Sunny, Raj and Cyrus all make it till dawn? Does Sunny live on to suffer the loss of his love? Will he and his friends make it through the night? Will he manage to prove to the world (and himself) that ghosts do exist... forms the rest of the story.
Right from the onset, the filmseems highly inspired from the Hollywood flick PARANORMAL ACTIVITY that created a sensation on its release. However, as the film progresses, you can't help but see the similarities it has to the GHOST HUNTERS show that airs on Discovery channel. Starting off explaining the pretext of the film's title, the story follows a college kid entering an abandoned mill to meet his three friends; there all four are interrupted by Sunny who tells them sternly that they should not be there, as things are not always what they seem. From here on, Sunny gets into a conversation, telling the friends of what horrors could befall them, like they did him, sending the viewer back in time to relive his life. Post the time shift, the viewer gets to experience Sunny's life from the high point of his marriage proposal being accepted to his eventual devastation on learning of his future wife's death, his subsequent substance abuse and his eventual resolve to find out the truth of what really happed that fateful night.
As Sunny recounts the incidents that started to occur, once he and his friends Cyrus and Raj lock themselves in the mill, the audience is subject to visuals that oscillate between night vision camera recording and normal camera visuals, while the background score that is almost always there, works up a tempo to set the mood for the perfect scare. Unfortunately, if the idea was to make a horror film, the shoddy dialogues and less than appreciable execution turn the film into a laugh riot. Raj and Cyrus (aka Bawa) are better suited to comic roles than to those requiring a sharper edge.A commendable effort on attempting to make a found footage film though the editing could have been better.The visual effects used to portray at times are done rather well, while others needed serious reworking.
Director Vishal Mahadkar, who earlier made BLOOD MONEY,fails to show sleek visuals in 3AM. Though he has done a decent job of portraying the thriller effect, Mahadkar's overall execution of the film could have been much better.
As for performances go, Rannvijay as Sunny does a decent job playing the part of a man on a mission, while Anindita as Sarah who is supposedly the lead actress of the film feels more like an extended guest appearance. Kavin and Sahil as Sunny's two friends and producers seem better for a comic caper. Though it is not all their fault, as the dialogues seriously lack insight and a certain level of refined English (thanks to the unabashed use of 'dude', 'man' and 'bro' almost in every sentence) is the main cause behind their characters failure.
On the whole, 3 AM does manage to be a bit scary, unfortunately, it is limited to certain parts that are few and far between andthe film comes across as a weak attempt.