‘Cold Case’ movie review: Underwhelming horror-thriller that squanders a promising premise

A still from ‘Cold Case’  

One of the popular internet memes of our times is the ‘expectations vs reality’ meme, pointing at how the reality of some things fall way behind our expectations. The makers of Cold Case probably expected a novel horror experience for the audience when they built some of these scary sequences around a refrigerator, but might not have imagined how it could turn out unintentionally funny in some key sequences. Not to forget that awkward literal connection that the refrigerator has to the movie’s title.

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But the horror elements are just one part of the movie, which is the debut directorial of cinematographer Tanu Balak. It attempts to weave together an investigation which runs on two parallel tracks; one which follows the traditional police method of following the forensic clues and circumstantial evidences, while the other follows the clues gleaned from paranormal activities.

It all begins from the recovery of a skull of an unidentified person from a lake. ACP Sathyajith (Prithviraj) begins piecing together the few leads to first identify the victim, and from there on, the culprit. Parallelly, Medha (Aditi Balan), a single mother and a journalist who does a show on paranormal occurrences, is experiencing some mysterious ‘presence’ in her own home. Unlike most people who would be driven away by such presences, she begins investigating it.

Cold Case
  • Director: Tanu Balak
  • Starring: Prithviraj, Aditi Balan, Lakshmi Priya, Alencier Lopez, Anil Nedumangad
  • Storyline: As a cop unravels several mysteries behind a murder, the case takes a rather cold turn with the emergence of supernatural forces

The script, written by Sreenath.V.Nath, is thus a balancing act between these two threads, which don’t meet almost until the end. Though the narrative shifts seamlessly between the two, they really do not come together, with one wishing for more of the police investigation, than the below par paranormal-horror elements, which involves the usual mix of a scary-looking doll, jump scares in perfectly normal situations, and background music filled with kids’ voices. The film is reluctant to reject paranormal activities, while making Sathyajith mouth a few lines to satisfy the rational-minded.


Sathyajith’s investigation throws up some intriguing bits in the initial parts built around the forensic clues. But when it progresses beyond that, to the circumstantial evidences, the script banks on too many convenient coincidences, rather than intelligent deduction on the part of the investigator. All of the careful build up in the initial parts leads to a letdown when the identity and the intentions of the criminal are revealed.

The script is rather weak not just in using the thriller elements, but in the dialogue department too. Quite a few of the sequences have the characters, especially the police officers, stating the obvious to each other. This is compounded by the not so great dubbing for some characters.

The film is an underwhelming horror-thriller that squanders the promising premise that it had. The hint of a sequel in the closing sequence almost seems like a warning to the audience.

Cold Case is currently streaming on Amazon Prime


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Printable version | Jan 28, 2022 4:43:38 PM |

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