Director Anoop Panicker and writer Abhilash Pillai have managed to deliver a not-so-good thriller in “Cadaver”. Cadaver is derived from the Latin word cadāver, a dead body or corpse that medical students often use for further studies. This film started as a revenge thriller, in between they messed up completely with the writing and then finished as a drama. The problem with the narrative was that it never had enough subtlety and didn’t develop even a single character. It tried to cover up the medical crimes but failed to deliver any messages as such. Nothing much happens in the story, and it felt like the director had to include an extra scene to clarify why he named his film “Cadaver”. But, the rest of the film was so dull that the post-credit scene did not really bother me much. So, let’s find out why “Cadaver” failed as a thriller.
What Happens in ‘Cadaver’?
At the film’s beginning, we see a convict named Vetri (Thrigun), imprisoned for a lifetime, entering a cemetery in a police jeep. His wife Angel Jesus’s (Athulya) body was about to be buried, and he took an oath to seek revenge for her death. Four years later, a reputed heart surgeon named Salim Rahman went missing. The police found a fully burned body in a burnt car the following day. The expert pathologist of the police department, Dr. Badra (Amala Paul), confirmed that it was him. A video went viral where a constable was dancing in front of a painting on a wall. The picture was of Salim Rahman’s. The investigating officer, ACP Vishal (Harish Uthaman), went to the jail to find out more about the video. The media already had the video, and it was known by then that Vetri told one of the prison staff about killing Salim Rahman the day he was abducted. When ACP Vishal went to interrogate Vetri, he found all the paintings on the walls of his cell. Vetri even declined to comment on anything. Soon, ACP Vishal formed a team with Dr. Badra and got custody of Vetri. There they found out that while looking at a picture of Salim Rahman, he was enraged, but while looking at an image of Angel, his anger was moderate; he even became very calm after some time.
A priest used to visit Vetri in jail, so Vishal and Badra went to see him and asked about Vetri. He said that to know about Vetri, they first had to know about Angel. Angel was an orphan left on the church’s doorsteps 25 years ago. The priest raised her as his daughter. Later, she met with Vetri, a local worker who contributed to the church’s chores. They married each other, and soon they left for Chennai. Angel got pregnant with Vetri’s daughter, and one day, when they were returning from a check-up, two thieves tried to snatch Angel’s locket. During this time, Vetri lost control of the bike and met with an accident. When Vetri chased the goons, Angel was picked up by an ambulance, and Salman Rahman operated on her. Her child was declared dead by him, but soon, a nurse named Priya found out that the child was alive. She did not know what to do with the baby, so she brought her home. She told her father that the doctor could have saved her mother; instead, he did something terrible at the operation theater. Later, we learned that the doctor had removed Angel’s heart to save a recipient with the same blood group and this would benefit them greatly. Now, months after Angel’s death, Dr. Badra accidentally found her post-mortem report. She revealed that she had come into contact with Angel while traveling to Chennai on a bus. She met with Priya’s father, a worker at the morgue, and he brought her to their home. There she saw Angel’s daughter and heard everything done to her.
After listening to everything, Dr. Badra asked Priya to gather all the information from Salman Rahman’s laptop. While doing so, she was caught red-handed, and her face was burned. She died, giving up the names involved in Angela’s death and her situation. Later, Priya died, and her father sought revenge by killing the three men involved in the mess. The main twist was that Dr. Badra was the mastermind behind every killing; Priya’s father was merely a weapon she used to keep her identity safe. Vetri was always confined within the four walls of his cell, so the police got all confused, and they could never catch the killer. Soon, ACP Vishal was transferred right before the killing of the last person, Salman Rahman’s father, Ali Rahman. He was the main culprit behind everything. In the end, Dr. Badra brought Angel’s daughter with her, and for the first time, she met with his father, Vetri. In the post-credit scene, we see that Dr. Badra was describing to junior students what “Cadaver” actually meant. There were some pieces of bones, and by looking at them, we can assume that those were the bones of Rahman’s father.
‘Cadaver’ Ending Explained: What Was Dr. Badra’s Motive For All The Killings? Was The Motive Convincing Enough To Kill?
Dr. Badra was never related to Angel until the time she saved her in the bus stand from an accident. Angel was talking on the phone, and a bus almost hit her, but fortunately, Badra grabbed her hands and pulled her away. Shortly after that, they were both traveling on the same bus. However, Badra did not show much interest in talking to her, but Angel started talking about her life and how she met Vetri and almost everything. Finally, Badra, too, began to like her and felt very comfortable around her. Angel showed her a locket, and when she took off the bus, Badra saw that she had left the locket on her seat. Badra kept her locket to herself, and when she saw her post-mortem report later, she was distraught. She became very close with Angel because of her honesty, and now that she had discovered her death, she was agitated. Later, when she learned that some doctor had removed her heart and she could have been saved, Badra wanted the involved persons to be punished. She asked for Priya’s assistance to gather the evidence against the doctor in question, but as Priya was killed, Badra blamed herself for her death. Badra had now decided that the only way to punish the concerned people was to kill them. Priya’s father agreed to help her with her objective.
The story had no depth to analyze further. The intention of the killer is not convincing enough. Priya’s father was furious because of his daughter’s demise. Vetri’s rage, too, was understandable. Apart from all this, why would Badra bother so much that she could develop the motive for killing? In the case of Angel, she only met with her once; her death could not carry such significance in her life that she would become a murderer. Some might say that it was after Priya’s death that Badra thought killing was the only option. But what inspired her? Some hallucinations of the dead people praised her work and sought justice. Not convincing enough.
Somehow, every opportunity to point out Ali Rahman’s (Salman Rahman’s father) indulgence seemed forced. Also, on what grounds did Vetri get life imprisonment for killing one of the goons who was clearly involved in an accident with a truck? Even if we agree that Ali Rahman used his sources to make that happen, there are still so many loopholes in the story. The lead character, Badra, was not at all convincing. Only Thrigun, as Vetri, showed some commitment to his character. The music was unnecessarily loud; the camera never really synced with the storytelling. There are several predictable moments. However, making Badra the killer seemed a bit forced as it lacked the suspension of disbelief. It is an average thriller for a one-time watch. If only the makers concentrated more on the screenplay, this film would have had the material be more involved than ever.
“Cadaver” is a thriller drama streaming on Disney+ Hotstar.