‘Typewriter’ Is a Good Show Stifled by Predictability
Indian films and shows that attempt to deal with the supernatural turn out either funny or simply boring. Sujoy Ghosh’s new Netflix show Typewriter has many loose points you can pick on, but it’s not one of those cringey films with bad graphics. It is a thrilling five-episode series set in a small town in Goa, and stars Palomi Ghosh in the main lead. Although Typewriter is a good one-time watch, it does leave you wishing for more.
No time to read? Listen to the review here:
A bunch of kids living in Goa are on a ghost-hunt. They find themselves attracted to a spooky looking Bardez Villa where a family moves in years after the mother (Palomi Ghosh) grew up there as a child, with her mother and grandfather. The town knows of the horrors of its past — spooky murders and stories of a shape-shifting ghost living in the house form the backbone of the initial curiosity you feel as an audience.
The plot finds its center in an old typewriter that the ghost now resides in. The story unfolds as the children find out the horrific details of the past and the present — the typewriter is now being used to bring back the ghost that once murdered innocents.
Will they be able to stop it from happening?
The show is brilliantly shot for most part. A couple of jump scares actually have the impact they intend to create — often you find yourself uncomfortable and at the edge of your seat. The story also unfolds with carefully crafted build-ups that manage to grab your attention. At no point in the show do you actually feel bored or disinterested. Sujoy Ghosh does a great job of adding just the right amount of darkness, mild humour, giving the characters breathing room which makes them believable. Each character has its own life, and you find yourself invested in all of them. Unlike a lot of shows recently, Typewriter doesn’t just throw in aimless stories with no background to show intention.
A good premise for each person’s thought process is established, hence the actions of the characters become impressively believable.
The performances of the actors must be applauded as well. Palomi Ghosh is excellent. She plays the role of a hateful, violent ghost as well as that of a confused young woman who is broken by the sadness of her past. The gang of children — Aarna Sharma, Palash Kamble, Mikhail Gandhi and Aaryansh Malviya are truly brilliant as well. The controlled display of emotions, the innocence and curiosity in their eyes is all too perfect. At times you find yourself relating them to the child actors of Stranger Things. They’re just that good. Do I wish the entire show was some kind of a Famous Five mystery book spin-off? Yes.
Actor Purab Kohli too does a good job as the policeman investigating the murders, as well as Aarna Sharma’s concerned father. He displays a warmth that often goes missing on camera.
While the show starts off really well, right after the first episode it becomes incredibly predictable. Everything in the show is something we have seen before, it is almost as if the writer picked up the safest elements of every horror film ever made and threw them in a concoction that otherwise tastes well. A broken old house, silent bathroom scenes that culminate into a jump scare, violent old men, a female ghost, the wait for a particular moon-sighting, a haunted doll angle — it’s nothing we haven’t seen a million times before.
Almost makes you wonder if a horror-thriller would survive without these tried-and-tested formulas. It is not to say that the elements don’t work, but simply that it isn’t a show that stands out in its genre.
Another problem with the show is its dwindling intensity. The director doesn’t seem to have made up his mind about whether the show is for children or for adults?
Another element that sticks out after a while is the unnecessary subplots. Some characters like Elli Avram and Sameer Kochhar add absolutely nothing to the show. Their presence on screen makes you want to skip ahead in the show. It’s almost as if the writer was obsessed with creating a tangled mess so he could finally untangle it - but as an audience, you find yourself asking — why?
Finally, the conclusion of the five-part show gives you the same feeling you got after watching The Conjuring 2 — ‘meh’. The build-ups amount to nothing. At one point Palomi is facing the ghost who looks like her and everybody is calm like it’s a family gathering. It is almost as if the show gets progressively unimpressive with its story-line. All said and done, Typerwriter is a great one time-watch for a friends-night-in. But if you’re looking for groundbreaking work, as you would expect from Sujoy Ghosh, who has helmed films like Kahaani and Badla, this perhaps isn’t what you need.
(Make sure you don't miss fresh news updates from us. Click here to stay updated )