Mid-way through Pizza, I told myself there better be a good reason why I’m being bombarded with a jump-scare every 5 minutes. The first half of Pizza is creepy. There are at least 50 times something pops out of nowhere; you are bound to get scared. If not all the time, then at least a few of those loud surprises will spook you. A film like this one rests on the “twist”. If the twist works for you, you will derive reasons why the rest of it makes sense. If it doesn’t, the entire film falls apart.
At the risk of giving away the ending (which I will not), let me be very clear why Pizza did not work for me. It cheats the viewer. You cannot show me something and tell me later that it was not real. After you’ve done that, you cannot tell me maybe it was. After all that, you definitely… CAN… NOT tell me some parts were real and some parts weren’t because by now I couldn’t care less. You have lost me completely. You can manipulate me but don’t cheat me. If you do cheat me, do it well. Getting caught while cheating just looks bad, for you and me.
That being said, there are two things that work for Pizza. It’s a well-executed horror film and it has a convincing lead actor. Akshay Oberoi holds it all together, even when it dwindles. He plays Kunal, the delivery boy, who gets stuck in a haunted house. We root for him, even when the story stops doing so.
The film starts with him delivering a pizza and he gets stuck in an elevator and some ghostly apparitions ensue. It’s not badly done but what was the point? The kiss of death for a horror film is when you ask – what is the point? There can be a point, if you really want to look for one. For me, that isn’t enough.
There are only two films I can think of that cheat the viewers well – The Sixth Sense (1999) and The Usual Suspects (1995). As far as Hindi films go, Kahaani (2012) is cleverly done. The rest of them, like this one, have a blurred vision. They don’t know, that the viewer should *want* you to win after you have cheated.
The filmmakers use every horror trick in the book. They want to do everything to scare you but have no idea that the spooks don’t come from a topping or some oregano flake, like the thankless 3D. It comes from the dough. Either it rises or it doesn’t. The base should be scary. We know what is scary, we know how it can be scary. Show us “why” we should be scared.
Pizza is arguably a good horror film, but it’s not a good film. It does not have its story in place. I deliberately chose not to watch the Tamil film it is remade from. Instead of comparing it to the original, I wanted to see this film without any preconceived ideas. You don’t get many horror films in India and for the most part, Pizza works. I want to recommend it, but I can’t till it works for me. I admire the concept of people making money off of an audience who willingly want to get scared. Isn’t that what horror films are about? You have an intelligent premise, build on it. I usually accept what the filmmaker serves but this is one of those cases where I wish they delivered my order.view less