Jaysurya's latest Malayalam movie, "Pretham," directed by Ranjith Sankar is set at a sea-side resort run by Denny Kokkan (Anju Varghese), Priyalal (Sharafudheen) and Shibu kuttan (Govind Padmasoorya aka GP). After noticing certain paranormal activities in the resort, the trio decides to ask the priest (Harish Perady) to bless the property they had bought by shelling all the money they had. The priest introduces a mentalist to them. How Jayasurya's character John Don Bosco figures out the reason behind the unusual activities in the resort form the gist of the horror comedy entertainer.
Film viewers in Kerala have seen many white sari-clad ghosts who try to frighten them while taking revenge against people who killed them. But what makes Jayasurya's "Pretham" different from the usual cliched horror movies is that it doesn't shock us with the pretham appearing all of a sudden with blood or injuries on face. Interestingly, the ghost Clara (Sruthi Ramachandran), who is on a mission to find the reasons that led to her death, is seen wearing a black salwar that she wore when she committed suicide. The director has successfully moved out of the stereotypical representations in horror thrillers, thus making "Pretham" unique.
Jayasurya again proves his versatility in acting by stepping into the shoes of a mentalist, who has the ability to read the minds of people. However, the way he tries to dig out the past of Clara reminds us of the iconic character Sunny (Mohanlal) in the evergreen Malayalam movie "Manichithrathazu." Unlike the usual movies under the horror genre, "Pretham" has more comedy elements than horror. Throughout the movie, one-liners from "Premam"-fame (Girirajankozhy) Sharafudheen and Dharmajan Bolgatty (as Yesu) entertain the audience. But the excessive presence of comedy might seem boring to some viewers. Television anchors GP and Pearle Maaney (as Suhanissa) may have irritated the audience with their infamous "Mangatholi Thengakola" song, but the duo has done a decent job in the Ranjith-directed movie along with Aju, Sharanya Menon, Devan and Sruthi.
"Pretham" doesn't have any extraordinary climax with twists and turns, instead it has a predictable story. However, mentalism is a fresh subject brought to the audience, making it a different horror movie with a decent dose of freshness. The cinematography by Jithu Damodar needs a special mention as he has captured the scenes very well with proper lighting and effects. Jaysurya's costumes, especially the Buddha attire, by his wife Saritha make him look distinct in "Pretham." His tonsured head also makes us feel he is the right person to have done this role. The only song, "Oruthik Pinnil," sung by Vineeth Sreenivasan in both male and female voice has already impressed listeners.
Final verdict: "Pretham" is not at all a horror movie like "Conjuring 2" as the makers have concentrated more on making it a comedy entertainer set in the backdrop of mysterious activities. Though the movie has a few weak points, the performances of the lead actors make it worth a one-time watch.