Game Over – India, 2019 – reviews

‘We all have two lives. The second one starts when we realise we only have one.’

Game Over is a 2019 Indian horror feature film about a nyctophobic woman who has to fight her inner demons to stay alive when stalked by a killer.

Directed by Ashwin Saravanan (Maya, 2015) from a screenplay co-written with Kaavya Ramkumar, the Y NOT Studios-Reliance Entertainment production stars Taapsee Pannu, Vinodhini Vaidyanathan, Anish Kuruvilla and Sanchana Natarajan.

Plot:

Swapna (Taapsee Pannu) is a single young woman and a talented video game designer. She is nyctophobic (afraid of the dark) and also suffers from post-traumatic stress, also known as ‘anniversary reaction’, a condition, which triggers unsettling feelings around the anniversary of a traumatic event. For Swapna, it is a horrific incident that took place on New Year’s Eve. Because of this, she leads a secluded life with Kalamma (Vinodhini Vaidyanathan), a housemaid who stays with her. Her only solace is her love for gaming.

Swapna’s life is turned upside down when she becomes aware that a tattoo on her hand has a strange young woman’s ashes mixed in the ink. She begins to have bizarre dreams. Swapna also finds herself the target of a serial killer. She is given multiple chances to fight, but her weak mental and physical state get in her way…

Reviews [click links to read more]:

“There are many layers to the film and each one of them has been treated well. Though the first half takes time to establish itself, the latter half compensates with gripping moments […] Though the film has some cons like cliched scenes and lengthy sequences, the concept conceived by Ashwin and the way he has executed it makes Game Over a worthy watch.” Chennai Vision

“It’s kind of a shame that at only 100 minutes, the running time can be felt. I would attribute that to a thin concept that’s been stretched to feature-length, taking far too long to really drum up excitement. The best part of the movie is the opening sequence, which is a brilliantly tense short film in itself about a stalking killer, serving as a prelude to Swapna’s story.” Musana Ahmed, Film Inquiry

Game Over may disappoint some people who like to think they know where it is heading from the earlier scenes. Those people may start plotting out their own movie, only to be thrown a curveball later on. Just be patient, trust in the skill of those involved, and you will be rewarded. The script puts everything in place nicely, and Saravanan directs with precision, leading viewers step by step towards that immensely enjoyable and satisfying third act.” Kevin Matthews, For It Is  Man’s Number

“The horrors that you get to experience in Game Over is on a whole new high, just like Get Out, but it also comes at a price. Like Get Out, amidst the shockers and thrillers, you may feel some of the elements not fully developed and left half-baked. But you won’t be thinking about all that after such an arresting act by Taapsee Pannu and heart-stopping experience that you get while watching this film.” Shankar Iyer, Madras Cinephile

“The strongest aspect of Game Over is Taapsee Pannu’s brilliant performance. She makes Swapna look vulnerable from the word go. Also, the film’s background music adds to the atmosphere. While Saravanan’s direction is good he falters on the writing front. The film features a CGI sequence of a girl falling down from a building which looks cheap and shoddy.” Murtaza Ali Khan, A Potpourri of Vestiges

“Pannu, who has made a name for herself playing characters that are at once vulnerable and headstrong – as seen in films like Mulk and Badla – is efficient as Sapana. Vaidyanathan does a good job playing the doting attendant. But the patchy script and Saravanan’s half-hearted treatment of it keep this game from ending with a high score.” Shilpa Jamkhandikar, Reuters

“There are many layers to the film – both psychological and paranormal – and though the makers unravel it in their own pace, these moments are what make this film interesting.” V. Lakshmi, Times of India

Cast and characters:

  • Taapsee Pannu … Swapna
  • Vinodhini Vaidyanathan … Kalamma
  • Anish Kuruvilla … Psychiatrist
  • Sanchana Natarajan … Amudha / Amrita
  • Ramya Subramanian … Varsha
  • Parvathi T. … Dr Reena
  • Maala Parvathi … Amudha’s / Amrita’s mother
  • David Solomon Raja … Inspector
  • Indrajith … Constable
  • Subramanian … Anwar, watchman
  • Soori … Skin Clinic Doctor
  • Captain KRC Pratap … Masked Man 1
  • Vignesh Shanmugham … Masked Man 2
  • Joshua Miller … Masked Man 3

Technical details:

  • 102 minutes
  • Audio: Dolby Atmos

Production and release:

Principal photography commenced on 10 October 2018 and wrapped on 14 December 2018. The film was shot simultaneously in both Tamil and Telugu languages, and also later dubbed into Hindi.

Game Over was released in India on 14 June 2019. It is currently streaming on Netflix in many countries.

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