I am spooked easily and maybe that is why I am not too fond of horror films. So, it is very difficult for me to understand what "liking" a horror film would feel like or what a "good" horror film is. In my mind then, I translate my feeling for a horror film to be good if it manages to spook me more than what is normal for me. With that disclaimer at your disposal, 3 AM is a decent horror film till it loses steam in the last half hour, that is.
Its time for another disclaimer. When I say I get spooked easily, it doesn't mean a regular Hindi horror film that is actually a comedy masquerading around as a horror film. It is when the characters get me involved enough to care for them; when I don't want the ghost or the spirit to trouble them. And this bit 3 AM manages reasonably well by building the chemistry between Sunny (Rannvijay Singh) and Sara (Anindita Nayar) and the camaraderie between Sunny and his friends Cyrus (Salil Acharya) and Raj (Kavin Dave).
Of course, for this first you have to get past some major loopholes in the character development like why would Sunny get Sara or even Cyrus and Raj into dangerous situations without any backup. But, once you are willing to accept that and move on, there are a few chilling moments and some eerily long, uncomfortable sequences in the dark.
The kind of lingering sequences which make you want it to be dawn at 3AM or the characters to break into a dance number in the middle of the haunted building. The exact kind of thing I would scoff at, if it were to happen. And it does happen, and there is relief. Except that the relief stays too long and the tension fails to build back to the same level.
The rest of the story is pretty much your average horror film story. Haunted building, evil spirit, innocent killed, search for truth by the survivors, impending disaster. The only thing to keep you going is the way the spookiness is executed.
It boils down to the sound, light and the performances. Editing in and out of monochrome handycam recording and in general a dark environment gives 3 AM's horror bits a good eerie backdrop. Add on, the minimal use of background music and heavy reliance on sounds to set the chill at the right level. The mere absence of typical Hindi horror films violins and creaks is good enough to make any horror film reasonably scary.
The performances aren't half bad either. The characters make the usual horrified faces and scream and display pain appropriately. None of it too distracting. Rannvijay Singh, Salil Acharya and Kavin Dave all give engaging performances in the horror scenes. The rest of the film though, they all look a little too affected. Anindita Nayar is the regular horror expression-less, supposed x-factor lead lady of the film. She doesn't have too big a role and isn't required to emote much.
3 AM, thus, had all the ingredients needed to execute an average horror product. Where it fails is in keeping the momentum up through to the end. Even if it had lost its enthusiasm in the climax, it could've been overlooked. But, the energy drops a good half hour before the end, as if it became too intense for the makers themselves. Even though 3 AM leaves room for a sequel with a very interesting premise, this one is a little bit of an anti-climax, a little bit of a cop-out, a lot of a mood-dampner. So what, if I am not complaining?
- meeta, a part of the audience
Thumbs up, by Divya Solgama, MoviezADDA : ...Dum? Well '3 A.M' is a very well made film with a noble intentions. Its not the typical Indian horror films and tries to match up to expectations of urban level people. It's just that being a horror film, it requires some chills and trills, which in case of '3 A.M', its nowhere to be found. But despite of these minor loopholes, '3 A.M' more than three reasons to be watching and can be termed as modern day spooky Hindi film.... full review
Thumbs up, by Subhash K Jha, NDTV : ...Rannvijay sells spook with conviction. He expresses the helplessness of bereavement like a man who has seen mortality from close quarters. I have to mention a shot where Salil, now royally possessed runs across the frame on all fours like a wild boar. The body language is terrifying. The film is a sharp slick scare-fest. It delivers the fear quotient without resorting to cheap gimmicks or excessive gore... full review
So-So, by Joginder Tuteja, Movie Talkies : ...However at the end of it all, it all boils down to your core interest level in watching the film, depending upon your mood to check out the genre amongst others which are on display. ... full review
Thumbs down, by Bobby Sing, Bobby Talks Cinema.com : ...On the whole, with 3 A.M we are certainly heading towards the right direction, but now urgently need to get rid of the set routine pattern and come up with a completely focused horror film to scare the hell out of the viewers giving them the worth of their money spent.... full review
Thumbs down, Bollywood Hungama : ...On the whole, 3 AM does manage to be a bit scary, unfortunately, it is limited to certain parts that are few and far between andthe film comes across as a weak attempt.... full review
Thumbs down, by Namrata Thakker, Bollywood Life : ...As I said earlier, if you get scared easily then watch this film and have fun. And the rest of you, well watch it if you have nothing else to do this weekend!... full review
Thumbs down, Daily Bhaskar : ...Seriously, Rannvijay Singh should go back to hosting shows as a VJ because as far as acting is concerned, the man seems to have no connection with it whatsoever. He has done films like London Dreams and Action Replay but continues to be rather juvenile in acting. If there is any good left in the world, Anindita Nayar, the leading lady in the film should look for an alternate career option too. We rest our case... full review
Thumbs down, by Kaushani Banerjee , Deccan Chronicle : ...Although the film has a few good songs to its credit, but the force injection of commercial factors and resorting to Bollywood’s ideas of horror movies, makes '3AM' another mediocre attempt. You can watch '3AM' but there is nothing new, nothing great or nothing specific to recommend it for.... full review
Thumbs down, by Mohar Basu, koimoi : ...Vishal Mahadkar wanted to design something that is between Ramsay and Paranormal Activity, expecting it to be better palatable to Indian audiences. I won’t say 3AM is an absolute waste, but surely isn’t anything new, great or pathbreaking. Sunny’s narration itself is a old textbook technique which if you have seen enough horror films, you’ll know where it is leading. The shockers are expected which infact the loud music preps you for. In another scene Cyrus is seen banging his head on the wall, another expected trick to convey he is possessed. The swanky devices the team walks around with are glorified versions of the recorders journalists use. Apparently it records the voice of the ghosts. Eventually Rannvijay does prove it to all that ghosts do exist but his film doesn’t further the intention of making a different horror film. It’s all seen that, walked through narrative which Vishal manages to ably carry forward but has nothing extraordinary or brilliant in it.... full review
Thumbs down, by Shubha Shetty Saha, MiD DAY : ...The hapless ghosts are in for a bad night as relentless talking in the name of provocation goes on forever and ever. Must say there are a couple of scenes which seriously spook you but unfortunately the director fails to keep up with that. ... full review
Thumbs down, by Nishi Tiwari, Rediff : ...Amidst all this madness, the story moves quickly from a myth-busting quest to a myth-affirming oddity faster than the feisty college-goers, to whom Sunny is narrating his Rudra Mills story, realise what’s going on.... full review
Thumbs down, by Sonia Chopra, Sify Movies : ...Rannvijay Singh drawls out his dialogue, and while he has the droopy eyes and looks, he can never quite communicate the eerie journey of his character.... full review
Thumbs down, by Rhea Shrivastav, STARDUST : ...3 A.M. is nothing special. It's certainly not unwatchable. In fact, you could evan enjoy it in a certain mood. However, it doesn't seen the type of flim you would want to spend money on. Watch it on TV If you must. ... full review
Thumbs down, by Renuka Vyavahare, Times of India : ...3 A.M is a conversation-heavy horror film. If that doesn't put you off, you can give it a shot. Else, watch Insidious or The Conjuring once again on DVD.... full review
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