Banner: First Ray Films
Producer: First Ray Films
Director: Shashi Sudigala
Cast: Suzanna Mukherjee, Anshuman Jha, Sanjay Suri, Divya Menon
Writer: Shashi Sudigala
Music: Manish J. Tipu
Hindi cinema has no dearth of murder mysteries and horror films, and Mona_Darling promises to take the genre up a notch. This is India’s first social network-based psychological horror film. When the trailer released, it promised to delve deep into the dangers of befriending strangers on social media. However, the movie is a big letdown and the perfect example of how a perfectly good concept can be ruined by juvenile filmmaking.
The movie opens with a bunch of guys discussing the Facebook profile of a certain ‘Mona Darling’, which had been deactivated but was reactivated for some sinister reason. They are happy to receive a ‘friend request’ from the profile, assuming it’s a girl. They all accept the request but they are all murdered, one by one. The murders are gruesome and we advise viewer discretion.
Next, you are introduced to the central characters in the film. A college girl Sara (Divya Menon) is on the lookout for her lost friend Mona (Suzanna Mukherjee). She is shown asking people about Mona. Finally, she decides to involve the Principal of the college played by Sanjay Suri. He, however, turns her away, showing more interest in the murders than the missing Mona.
As a last resort, she seeks the help of Wiki (Anshuman Jha), and together they decide to find Mona. They soon stumble upon evidence which links Mona to the murders of the group of boys who were killed after accepting the Facebook friend request. Is Mona the killer? Is this the reason she has gone missing? If not, who is behind these gruesome killings? What happens next forms the crux of the story.
The first half of the film has a good
build-up to the mystery. However, the second half is a huge letdown as the story becomes very predictable, and the climax is very disappointing. The director Shashi Sudigala had an extremely good concept. Even though social media thrillers have become very popular in world cinema, the concept is new to Indian cinema and people were looking forward to this film. But the director fails to add intrigue to the film, a core ingredient in any thriller.
The screenplay is so poorly written that several sequences that were intended to scare you, ironically, make you yawn. There are several moments in the film where parallel stories are unfolding, and the editing and cinematography could have been tighter. It is confusing for the audience. Even the background score is mediocre even though music plays a critical role in the horror genre.
Performance-wise, Sanjay Suri is wasted in this film. Suzanna Mukherjee, who plays the titular role, has done a decent job. Divya Menon is decent as well. Anshuman Jha is very good.