Gone are the days when the terms 'horror' and 'scare' only meant masked and scary faces, courtesy the prosthetics that was made famous by the Ramsay brothers. But that was in the 70s, 80s and early 90s. Circa 2000. The same terms now mean forceful background music and state of the art vfx. DARR @ THE MALL, directed by Pawan Kirpalani, treads on the same territory.
Jimmy Sheirgill, a voluntarily resigned army officer, joins Amity Mall as its security supervisor. What surprises the mall owner is that despite the rumours of the mall being haunted and after a series of deaths, why is it that Jimmy still wants to join the mall? Even after Jimmy joins the mall, his co-worker gets killed in mysterious circumstances, something that baffles Jimmy to a large extent.
Because of all the deaths and rumours, the mall management decide to have a grand re-opening of the mall, so that when it starts getting its footfalls, they can easily sell it off once and for all. The whole story unfolds on that fateful night of the mall re-opening. One by one, the mall management gets killed at various locations in the mall and all very mysteriously. That's when Jimmy tries to rescue the remaining people in whatever way he can.
DARR @ THE MALL does boast of some scary moments, but they are few and far between. In fact, the director uses every possible trick in the book to scare the viewer; some work, some don't. Also, though the length of the film has been maintained to hold the viewer's interest, the film tends to get stretched at places. The scenes like the walkthrough AC duct and the young guy's causal fling with the foreigner could have been avoided, whereas the flashback scenes could have been shortened.
The soundtrack lacks the magic, with none of the songs being memorable. It's just the background music of the film that keeps the audiences spellbound.
Jimmy delivers a balanced performance. Given the fact that he had done serious roles like the ones in A WEDNESDAY and SPECIAL 26, the role of a fearless security officer seems like an effortless task for him. Nushrat Bharucha too delivers a clean performance. Arif Zakaria is good.
On the whole, DARR @ THE MALL is too ordinary a fare to leave an impact.