Ohmkar’s new Telugu-language “horror” show Mansion 24 is a 6-part drama that fails to make any kind of impression. Not only is it completely unoriginal, but even with its ensemble cast, it is a snooze fest that is as shallow as the mindset behind some of its subplots. Mansion 24 follows the story of investigative journalist Amrutha, whose father has just gone missing after visiting an infamous abandoned mansion. Her task is to figure out where he is and bring him back home to her bedridden mother. Amrutha meets the security guard of the building, who entertains her with some stories for 5 days about different flats in the building where terrifying things happen. How does all of this connect to her father’s story? We find out by the end of the first season. Firstly, the title of this show makes no sense. There’s no mansion; there’s an apartment building; they could’ve given us a hint and named it “Flat 24”. While the intention of this series is to present to us the true horrors of human nature, it really fails to have any impact at all with its terrible execution and too many subplots.
Mansion 24 begins with Amrutha’s journey to find her father, but after the first 10 minutes of the series, we never see her worried for Kalidas or wondering what has happened to him again. Instead, she listens with condemnation to the guard’s stories. The show tries desperately to be detailed in its presentation, but the shoddy effects really leave much to be desired. The moral policing is evident, especially with episode 3 being anti-abortion. Episode 5 is directly ripped from 2021’s Fresh, but in an unwatchable manner. There’s nothing to save this show, not even the presence of superstar Satya Raj. The show tries to use Sanskrit phrases from the Gita to present its lessons but over-explains everything afterwards, making it a big waste. What’s supposed to be scary comes across as inauthentic, and even with a decent overall premise, there’s no salvaging this show. It’s the small details that make it worse too, like stereotyping a man who wears a septum piercing as a predator (literally trying to make him Hannibal) and punishing a woman for choosing her career over family (yuck).
As the show progresses, we get further away from Kalidas’ story, and any amount of “digging” wouldn’t lead us back to the main plot. The climax fails to impress, and not even a random twist in the tale can make this all-over-the-place story interesting. In terms of scares, there’s actually nothing. There are parts in Bahubali that may have felt scarier. Jokes aside, terrible CGI and over-color-corrected clips really make this show look like a children’s game. As an anthology, this show doesn’t work because we don’t even get glimpses of the truth within the many subplots. There is one main goal for Amruta, but listening to the guard’s stories isn’t helping her reach it, so why should we bother listening to them? In the end, none of it really matters, and even if you watch episode 1 and then episode 6, you’ll understand Kalidas’ plotline. The sound design and cinematography are overplayed in an attempt to make the show scary, but instead, they make it look trashy. Even old shows like Aahat or Shh! Koi Hain have had better episodes that are actually somewhat chill-inducing. In all honesty, even if you don’t have anything to watch, don’t watch this to waste your time.
It’s October, the season for scares, but instead of getting something new and interesting, we’re getting a below-average show that tries to add superficial value by doing too much. The horror genre is gaining new popularity and slowly but surely becoming mainstream. It’s a creative outlet to make some really interesting statements, as we’ve seen many times before, but then when we get series such as Mansion 24, it feels like we’re going back a couple of decades. No, the sociological messaging of the series is not fantastic; it’s boring and redundant. And before you come at me trying to say it’s emotional, even the parts that are supposed to be heart-wrenching feel like add-ons to a plot that would fail on its own. The worst part of it all is that the series ends with the beginning of a new plot in anticipation of a new season. Not only is this unnecessary, but (what I can say without giving out any spoilers) it makes the whole season a complete waste of time.
What I’m still stuck wondering, though, is why Ohmkar wouldn’t choose to present a real abandoned building as the mansion instead of a computer-generated one, because at least that would be one step in the right direction for this show. It’s not like our country is short on jaw-dropping haunted house-looking creepy buildings. On the other hand, the insides of the different homes presented in the subplots are absolutely stunning, and everybody appears to be rich, even though their circumstances would not allow it. The elaborate homes are as unbelievable as the exaggerated stories themselves, and at the end of the day, you’re left wondering how far one’s imagination can take them. I already went into Mansion 24 with no expectations, and yet it manages to disappoint in the worst way possible.
Even if you’re terrified by the horror genre and get scared by the smallest jump scares, this show will not have any effect on you. There is some gore, minor sexual content, and no cussing in this show. If this show gets the go-ahead for a second season, I hope that even if they fail, it’s in an entertaining manner. They owe us that much, but I won’t be watching it for sure. I give Mansion 24 1.5 out of 5 stars for boring me to death and copying one of my favorite movies for cheap thrills.