Horror swings between reality and supernatural elements. It has a lot of potential to end up looking like a clown show if these elements are not executed with precision. And that’s exactly what happens in the film “Kaatteri.” It is not so much horror; it rather looks like a bad comedy directed by Deekay. The South Indian film industry has managed to create a certain standard among the audience, but films like “Kaatteri” only ruin people’s expectations. Fortunately (for the makers), it was an OTT release, and Netflix’s quality in producing regional content has been degrading for a long time. The movie starts with an average feeling that ends in disaster. So, in some ways, it was a clown show indeed.
What Happens In The ‘Kaatteri’ Film?
The film starts with a glimpse of a village fair where everyone seems to be having a good time. There, a man can be seen trying to cut down an electric pole. Another stranger appears and kills that man. Then the stranger pushes down the pole. A high-tension wire then kills all the people in the fair. Everyone is dead except for the stranger who pushed the pole. Then we jump to the present time, where we see three men talking to a psychologist, Kamini (Aathmika). Their main intention was to kidnap her. Another guy named Maanga Mani had come to kidnap her, but he went missing. So, these three guys have come to finish his job. They fail to capture her until a fourth guy comes in and puts a black cloth over her. After that, they bring her to their boss, Naina. The three guys are too stupid to do a job without making any mistakes; hence Naina wants to get rid of them to keep the kidnapping a secret. Later, we find Naina accusing them of stealing his stuff. One of the three guys, Gajaa (Karunakaran), said that it was Kiran (Vaibhav Reddy) and Maanga Mani’s plan, and they were not part of it. Since Maanga Mani is missing, Naina tells the three of them to get all the money from Kiran within 24 hours, or he will kill them.
We see Kiran marrying Swetha (Sonam Bajwa), and it is their first night together. The three guys are sitting in their bedroom and informing Kiran about everything that has happened to them. Swetha shows interest and says they should kidnap Kamini again from Naina to make a double profit. Everyone agrees to the plan, and they manage to kidnap her again. They not only kidnapped Kamini but also a police officer who tried to stop them. Soon, Kamini shares the last phone number from which Maanga Mani had called her. With the help of the Truecaller app, they find the location and reach a village named Kolatipuram. They visit the house from where the call was made by Maanga Mani. Kiran is certain that the woman in the house knows something about Maanga Mani as he saw her blinking her eyes at her kid when he was trying to show a picture of Mani to her. Right after that, the horror starts to play in the most cringe way possible. “Kaatteri” portrays lots of unnecessary sequences only to reveal to us that everyone in the village has turned into a ghost.
Soon, we are introduced to the main ghost of the story, Maathamma (Varalaxmi Sarathkumar). She literally has her own ways of making people disappear. First, she asks her victim, “Am I beautiful?” while keeping her normal human-like appearance. If the person answers directly, she turns into a ghost and asks the same question again. Obviously, one won’t answer such a question when asked by a ghost. So, Maathamma kills them after she gets angry with their answer. Damn! What kind of horror comedy is that?
Anyway, there were a total of six people who were stuck in the village. The three guys, Kiran, his wife Swetha, and the psychologist, Kamini. It doesn’t take long for us to notice that Swetha has escaped from Maathamma. The ghost targets one of the three guys, and Kali irritates Maathamma so much that they all end up in her custody. Later, Maathamma narrates a story to them where she talks about the time when she was not a ghost but a mortal human being. She used to be a local medicine specialist with an abusive and alcoholic husband. She was even molested by the local police inspector, Arumugam, whenever he came to get his weekly share of the money. A well was being dug in their house, and soon they discovered it was a magic well. If they throw something into the well, it offers them gold jewelry. When the inspector discovered this, he killed everyone in the village, including Maathamma and her sister, and threw all of them into the well to get something in return. But whenever the well was unattended or unfed, a strange creature would come out of the well, and make people disappear to quench its hunger.
Later, we find out that Maathamma’s sister possessed Kamini’s body from the very beginning, and Ponnambalam (the fourth guy who had helped capture Kamini in the first place) captured Maathamma’s sister’s ghost. Ponnambalam accidentally dies, and leaves behind Kamini’s soul. Kiran finally pays a visit to Naina with all the money and confronts Naina with the truth revealing to him that he knows that he is no one else but Arumugam, the corrupt police inspector who used to molest Maathamma. Kiran has also brought Kamini’s soul with him, who probably takes her revenge and kills him. In the end, we see Kiran’s wife, Swetha, too, is possessed by Maathamma’s ghost.
‘Kaatteri’ Ending Explained: Who Was Maathamma? What Was Her Relationship With “The Creature”?
Maathamma practiced medicine and helped the villagers ease their pain at times. Her husband was always drunk and used to torture her. A police inspector named Arumugam used to molest her and get money from her. Later, she found out that a creature living in the well of her house would offer them jewelry if they satisfied its hunger with their offerings. First, it was offered a lamp, later a hen, and then later, the laborer (digging the well) himself went into the well and became a victim of the creature. Soon, Maathamma realized that the creature would be more satisfied if they offered it human flesh. So, she, along with her sister, threw her husband into the well. She made a deal with Arumugam to gather more dead bodies to make offerings to the creature. Maathamma offered Arumugam a bag full of jewelry and told him not to ask any questions, just to deliver the dead bodies she asked for.
Arumugam was a cunning man himself. So, he broke into their house one night only to find the stock of gold there. Just then, we see the creature standing in front of them. Arumugam told everyone not to blink their eyes and continue staring at the creature. But the constable was too afraid to follow his own orders. As soon as he moved, the creature grabbed him, and he, along with the creature, disappeared into thin air, leaving all his clothes behind. Later, they saw a message from the creature on the wall: “Do not starve the well.” So now they understood that they needed to get more dead bodies to feed the creature. Arumugam told Maathamma that if they killed one person at a time, it might arouse suspicion in the village. So, they decided to kill everyone in one go. In the middle of the village feast, Arumugam killed every soul using the high-tension electric wire, as seen in the opening sequence of the film. Later, when they received an enormous amount of gold, Arumugam betrayed Maathamma and pushed her into the well along with her sister.
It can be surmised that after killing everyone in the village, Arumugam settled down somewhere else and somehow achieved a sort of immortality. However, the devil’s prize always comes with a price, and probably it was the reason why Arumugam started looking too old for his age, almost like a withering tree. Anyway, after getting kidnapped for the second time, Kamini told Kiran and his squad that Maanga Mani never went to kidnap her; instead, he was a patient there. She told them that he was going to Kolatipuram village to hunt for some sort of treasure. Since Maathamma’s sister already possessed Kamini’s body, it can be understood that Kamini lied about Maanga’s disappearance. Even the phone call incident was made up. She wanted them to go to the village, so that Maathamma would kill everyone to avenge her death.
At the end of “Kaatteri,” it was suggested that Maathamma had possessed Swetha’s body. Swetha was the only one who had separated from the group when they all arrived in the village. After the arrival of Ponnambalam, we don’t see Maathamma for a while. It was probably at this time when she found Swetha and possessed her. Why did she do that? Well, maybe Maathamma wanted to take her revenge on anyone related to Arumugam. Or maybe she just loved killing people since it was the only thing she loved doing while she was alive. Whatever the case, maybe, the film doesn’t give out any logical explanation of why Maathamma’s ghost was still roaming on Earth even after Kamini had killed Arumugam and taken Maathamma’s revenge.
“Kaatteri” neither serves any purpose nor gives any required closure to the characters. It doesn’t reveal to us what happened to the creature or what would happen to Maathamma’s soul in Swetha’s body. The open and illogical end of the film only makes us cringe more about it, so it’s better not to think about it.
From the execution to the acting, everything falls apart. There were some unnecessary scenes trying to bring bad comic elements that were extremely awful, along with some scary scenes that were equally laughable. The actor, Ravi Mariya, who played the role of Kali, was the most irritating of the lot. His comedy was stereotypical and irritating at times. The screenplay gets boring way sooner than predicted, but it is the ending of “Kaatteri” that was the most disappointing of all. The only good thing in the entire film was the creature’s prosthetics. It was not an original inspiration; they copied it flawlessly. To conclude, “Kaatteri” was unwatchable, but even if you want to spoil your mood, you can stream it on Netflix.
“Kaatteri” is a 2022 Indian Horror Comedy film streaming on Netflix with subtitles.