‘Matinee’ movie review: A horror-comedy with few jump scares and fewer laughs

With a gifted cast involving Sathish Ninasam, Nagabhushana, Rachita Ram, and Aditi Prabhudeva, ‘Matinee’ should have aimed to be much more fun and vibrant than what it is

April 05, 2024 05:12 pm | Updated 05:12 pm IST

A still from ‘Matinee’

A still from ‘Matinee’ | Photo Credit: Anand Audio/YouTube

Small-scale Kannada movies that aim to be genre-specific don’t sway too far from the template of a generic ‘mass’ entertainer. Hence, in Matinee, directed by Manohar Kaampali, Sathish Ninasam’s character enters with the typical ‘hero introduction’ song. He also gets two duets (with actors Rachita Ram and Aditi Prabhudeva), one in each half of the film.

Matinee calls itself a horror-comedy, but it takes a long time to get to its core theme because the screenplay has no solid structure. Four friends go to meet Arun (Sathish) in his mansion. The meeting, which was supposed to be a reunion, is rocked by supernatural activities in the house.

Matinee (Kannada)
Director: Manohar Kaampali
Cast: Sathish Ninasam, Nagabhushana, Aditi Prabhudeva, Rachita Ram, Shivaram KR Pete, Poornachandra Mysore
Runtime: 133 minutes
Storyline: Arun owns a property in Bangalore where he invites his friends for a reunion. However, the bunch of friends are troubled by paranormal activity and they get trapped in the house

Actors Nagabhushana, Shivaram KR Pete, Sathish, and Poornachandra Mysore are real-life friends. They are your traditional ‘outsiders’ who toiled hard to make a mark in the industry. Utilising the boisterous chemistry between them, the director had an excellent opportunity to churn out an engaging film. The fact that they are natural at comedy was an added advantage.

Yet, it remains a fact that even the best of talents require support from the script. Matinee partially reminds you of Romancham, the Malayalam sleeper-hit of 2023. With a focused approach, director Jithu Madhavan produced an enjoyable tale of a group of friends who use an Ouija board and are troubled by the events that follow. However, in Matinee, the laughs and scares are few and far between.

The biggest shortcoming is the inappropriate placements of jokes; they are more annoying than funny. Even when Nagabhushana and Shivaram KR Pete shine with their dialogue delivery, Matinee doesn’t explode with big laughs or inventive twists.

ALSO READ:Decoding the Kannada hit ‘Ayogya’ with actor Ninasam Sathish

The horror genre is a tough nut to crack, and the film’s final act is a case in point. Matinee gets unintentionally funny with its intended scare scenes, and you are appalled at the ridiculous ideas of the director to invoke fear. The overflowing melodrama also makes you wonder if the makers forgot the film was a horror comedy. Unfortunately, Matinee even hints at a sequel in the end... now, that’s a jump scare we didn’t see coming!

Matinee is currently running in theatres

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