An Off-Day Game (Ozhivudivasathe Kali). 2015. India. Directed by Sanal Kumar Sasidharan. In Malayalam; English subtitles. 104 min.
Five middle-aged male friends enjoy a day off in a secluded country house, where a local woman is hired to cook their meals. A time to loosen up is also a time to get naughty, and each unremarkable moment seems to hold the potential for mayhem. Malayalam filmmaker Sanal Kumar Sasidharan (whose third feature, Sexy Durga, is also in this series) proves he is a master of sinister suspense. In the film’s second half, a stunning, continuous long take leads the viewer into a downward spiral of no return while maintaining its razor-sharp focus on underlying social woes. This provocative debut shows that a happy-go-lucky buddy movie and a bone-chilling horror film might well be one and the same.