Without wasting time the director of Avunu gets to story telling right from the time the credits begin to roll. The movie begins with the scene of a busy police station. It appeared as if the entire team returned from a crime scene and are at work putting the clues and investigation together. Wife of a newly married couple stabs the husband several times without any provocation. The couple married after four years of courtship and both were very much in love. She was neither harassed for dowry nor subjected to domestic violence. But aren’t we supposed to be watching a ‘horror film’? A suspense thriller as the director Ravi Babu describes it.?

The movie isn’t about past life or about sacrifices. It also not set in the backdrop of any deserted run-down haveli. As the rolling of the credits end, the story begins.

Harsha (Harshvardhan Rane) is driving his parents to his new house. Along with his parents are Mohini (Poorna), Harsha’s wife. She too would be seeing their house for the first time.

The gated community has over 50 houses of which only three have occupants. Harsha is one of them, the other is his friend Mohan and his wife, Swapna and son Vicky and the occupants of the third house are never seen. The entire community has one watchman Yadaiah and his wife Yadamma.

There are lots of instances where the director makes the audience suspect many characters in the movie to be the ghost. Mohan and Swapna’s little boy talks to his deceased grandfather, plays chess and is in a constant conversation with him, leaving us to suspect the little boy. Remember Omen?

The movie has some obvious horror film elements. Like the shifting of the drawers, moving of furniture etc. Unlike other horror films where the ghost’s identity is revealed in the end, director Ravi Babu introduces the ghost little by little right from the beginning. Avunu tackles the fact where supernatural is sometimes confused with psychological disorder. But while doing so he also deals with super natural powers in a positive way.

The ghost or the horror factor in the movie isn’t violent. He doesn’t kill, he isn’t thirsty for blood and nor does he come out only at night or in the absence of light.

The entire cast including the little boy—Vicky does a wonderful job. Vicky does the talking with ‘the unseen’ very convincingly and naturally. The movie is interesting because it can grasp the audience’s attention without any songs, item numbers or glimpse of foreign locales. Keeping the audience literally housed (95 percent of the movie is filmed inside one house), he makes them watch every frame with rapt attention. Swapna and Mohan do a good job as hapless, worried parents of a kid who talks to unseen people. There are comic moments also to the movie watchers and in the comic elements shows the cruelty of the spirit. Harsha is good as a lover and equally good as a possessed lusty lover. Poorna’s fear-factor timing is superb. The background music will remind horror movie buffs of Hollywood horror classics.

Avunu

Star: Harshavardhan Rane, Poorna

Direction, story: Ravi Babu

Plot: A suspense thriller

Bottomline: It doesn’t come with a horror certification, so watch it whether you have a weak or strong heart.