Karthik Subbaraj is one of those directors whose movie you cannot miss, or you will be labeled insane by your friends. He has carved himself quite a reputation after Pizza and Jigarthanda, and it seems like everything he touches will inevitably turn into gold. So much so that he even managed to rope in the superstar for his next project.

Now, let’s get to his latest venture: Mercury. First of all, Mercury isn’t a silent film. It’s a dialogue-less film, if I may. The film is loud and heavily relies on Santosh Narayanan’s frantic background score to deliver the scare in this thriller.

So here’s what happens…

Mercury tells the story of five friends who are deaf and dumb – all of whom will suffer grave consequences for their reckless actions. Two of them are in love. One of them has a really cool iPod. The other two, I’m not so sure, perhaps they’re like fillers in a boyband.

These five youngsters are seen drinking and dancing to celebrate something they have achieved earlier in the day. Then, they decide to drive up to the hill in the middle of the night, and we can already sense that something is going to go terribly wrong.

On their way down, a foolish mistake gets them involved in an accident and they end up killing a man (Prabhu Deva). While engulfed in panic and fear, they make a questionable decision. This results in a vengeful zombie hunting them down for revenge.

Wait, have I seen this before?

I really don’t want to trivialise the message of the film by saying this, but it really did feel like I was watching a silent remake of I Know What You Did Last Summer – but with a social message and lesser high school drama.

I respect that Karthik Subbaraj is using this film to pay tribute to victims of corporate greed, but the modus operandi isn’t original. A group of teenagers accidentally kill someone. Inundated with remorse and fear, they frantically try to leave town. And then each of them get killed one by one…. by a ghost? Not sure. A zombie? Maybe. Perhaps he’s not quite dead? Possible. How did he know who his murderers are? Well, they always do.

Overall, a laudable effort by Karthik Subbaraj!

All said and done, Karthik Subbaraj does a great job at making you see the world from another perspective. I also love the fact that he did not use any big time heroes (the only name actor is Prabhu Deva) for this film – the story and its message are the heroes that carry the film.

Prabhu Deva is also stretched beyond his comfort zone, his role is very different from the ones he’s accustomed to. Given that his last movie is the atrociousness that is Gulaebaghavali, I think he stepped it up 6.5 notches this time around!

To wrap up, I think the idea is definitely intriguing, but be prepared for a predictable ending. Honestly, I have not seen much of Karthik Subbaraj’s other works. But given all the rave and praise I’ve heard about him, this is probably not one of his best.

Verdict: A real breath of fresh air – especially considering that Tamil movies are always full of (sometimes ridiculous) punch lines. Definitely worth watching.