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Right from the beginning of director V.Z. Dhorai’s Iruttu, it is evident that the makers are in no mood to humanize the ghost. We witness unsuspecting innocents getting attacked by the devil as a thick veil of darkness spreads the sky. What ensues is a heady mix of occult, police procedural and an underlying family drama.

Produced by Screen Scene Media Entertainment, Iruttu (Dark) stars Sundar C, Sakshi Chaudhary, Sai Dhansika, Manaswi and others in central roles. Chezhiyan (Sundar C), a newly appointed police officer, along with his wife Regina (Sakshi Chaudhary) and daughter Diya (Manaswi) relocate to a haunted hill station in the wake of an unprecedented string of murders.

What happens when a djinn that haunts this town sets its eyes on Chezhiyan’s family?. Whether they survive or fall prey to evil spirits forms the rest of the story. The film strives to create a world of its own by building eerie incidents within the story.

There are certain moments that create a lot of anticipation- minutes before his death, a police officer calls his deputy Kozhandhaivelu (VTV Ganesh) about a ‘breakthrough’. The makers have strived to create an internal logic, where we see the jump scares in the first half serve the plot.

Despite a slightly underwhelming interval twist, the second half picks up pace. The film effectively uses some regular horror tropes (like a possessed child). Baby Manaswi brilliantly portrays a scarred, vulnerable being and at times, her performance amplifies the dread surrounding the characters. The exposition-filled backstory of a haunting djinn (played by Dhansika) and a neatly-written procedural that leads to the revelation feels satisfactory but does less to tie all the loose ends of the script.

The screenplay misses to connect fill some of its loopholes (the scene involving a phone call at midnight leaves you with a lot of questions). Iruttu is backed by Sundar C’s mellow underplayed portrayal of Chezhiyan and the film is ably backed by supporting performances from VTV Ganesh, Sai Dhansika and others.

V.Z. Dhorai creates a plausible world that is filled with occult and spooky elements. Iruttu is splendidly shot by E. Krishnaswamy, as the camera captures the vast expanse of the hill station with aerial shots. The visual effects could have been a bit better, as they proved to a major distraction in an otherwise decent climax. Through Iruttu, V.Z. Dhorai constructs a moody, focused horror that sticks to its genre.

Verdict: Iruttu is an inventive and fairly engaging horror-procedural that stays true to its genre

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