This bilingual horror-thriller is compelling for the most part but falters towards the end

Story: Anya aka Lavani aka Lavanya is an aspiring social media influencer who moves into an old apartment just before lockdown. Although she encounters disturbing sounds and movements in the house, Anya searches for a logical reason to ignore the activity. Madhu, her sister, calls her constantly, nagging her to come home. Anya runs an online channel Anya’s Tutorial, which focuses on beauty and DIY tips and is uploaded frequently. His channel gains traction on all social media platforms once viewers witness paranormal activity in the house. Soon, the channel’s management becomes all about Anya’s life, and she decides to go all out to keep it trendy. Madhu joins the party and reveals a conversation between the sisters in an attempt to damage her popularity and bring her home. Despite her efforts and a call for Anya’s tutorial to be banned from parents of teenagers attracted to the channel, this only makes her trendier. As Anya begins to reveal her traumatic past, Madhu becomes a worried soul. Anya becomes a beloved, feared and hated phenomenon, resulting in Anyans and Anti Anyans. What did Lavani reveal about his childhood? What is its relation to the spirit?

Exam: The web series begins with Anya struggling to get out of bed, and as she drags herself out of bed, she hears a haunting voice calling her name “Lavani”; she tries to run away, but the voice tells her she can’t, but Anya says “Yes, I can” and starts running and wakes up from a dream. Nivedhithaa’s creative setting, thoughtful music, and sublime performance gave the web series the right start. The technical department needs special appreciation to produce a clean horror series without distracting anomalies regarding visual effects and the display of paranormal activity. Music composer Arrol Corelli, editor Raviteja Girijala and cinematographer Vijay K Chakravarthi, art directors Abhishek Raghav, Tirumala and Nagendra and sound designer Gautam Nair have done an impressive job. However, given the horror thriller format and genre, the background music and sound effects could have been even better.

That said, most items are handled with attention to detail. For example, even Anya’s tutorial social media profile looks authentic with her bio description, Beauty Expert | DIY specialist. Unlike archaic horror movies, modern elements like the use of social media and their reach in public are well represented, giving this psychological thriller a fresh feel. Additionally, director Pallavi Gangireddy’s integration of the COVID-induced lockdown gave the plot a realistic edge. Nivedhithaa Satish as Anya and Regina Cassandra as Madhu gave strong performances and looked fabulous in their roles.

Written by Sowmya Sharma, the series of 7 episodes – Deyyalu Levu, Bhootalu Levu, #girlinahauntedhouse, Sevam Ela Paaripotundi? Followers Kosame Na Idantha?, #findtheevilister, #justiceforanya, It’s too late, remains fascinating for the most part but falters towards the end as things become predictable. The plot had enough to engage audiences with its layered past and present storytelling, but some might find it confusing and left room for ambiguity, contrary to what is written on Anya’s social media bio “The things are simple; don’t complicate them.

-Paul Nicodemus


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