Malayalam cinema has reinvented the art of storytelling and direction over the years. The extensive amount of quality movies are living proof of it. While Mollywood has had its share of producing exciting thrillers and comedy, there are few movies that received accolades for its horror/thriller element. Some of these movies do not aspire to replicate reality, but they have made us screech at the sound of jump scares and gripping dialogues.
If you’re not the kind of Malayali who’d politely decline a horror movie screening invite, welcome to the less-terrified movie club. We’ve queued up 10 of the best horror movies Malayalam cinema has ever produced. Not every movie mentioned is high levels of creepy, but it’s the perfect balance of reality and the spooks. Take a look.
Release Date: December 23, 1993
Main cast: Mohanlal, Shobana, Suresh Gobi, Vinaya Prakash, Innocent
Of course, Manichitrathazhu would top our list. It is still one of the best horror-thriller Mohanlal/Shobana movie ever created. No matter how many times you’ve watched the movie, you’d still feel your blood curl when Shobana turns into the spirit of the resentful dancer. You most probably know the story of Manichitrathazhu by now, but there’s no harm in re-watching the spectacle, right? It’s well-crafted, occasionally eerie, and makes you want to know the truth.
Release Date: 1988
Main Cast: Kunchacko Boban, Kumari Joemol, Thilakan
Who’d ever thought that Kuchacko Boban’s second film would turn out to be a huge success? Mayilpeelikkavu tells the story of two lovers who dies in their previous birth and is reincarnated as Unnimaya and Manu to seek vengeance. The movie has the right amount of romance, unexpected creepiness, and most importantly, a story that was well-played out well by the characters. It has earned a lot of credit for staying less extravagant, if you know what we mean.
Release Date: 26 January 1999
Main Cast: Mayoori, Rajan P. Dev, Sphadikam George, Cochin Hanifa
Caste discrimination has always been a huge problem in Kerala. Vinayan, the director of Aakasha Ganga, manage to capture this very element through the lines of horror. When the Maanikesseri family burns their maid alive for having an affair with a family member, her spirit returns to haunt and seek revenge. Plot-wise, they’ve done a great job. The performances of the actors will keep you hooked on till the very end.
Release Date: 2004
Main Cast: Mohanlal, Nayanthara, Mukesh
You can always fall in love with anyone until you know that they’re a spirit. The story of Vismayathumbathu exactly captures that. When Sreekumar meets Nayantara for the first time, he thinks of her as a prostitute. But, in time, he realises that he is the only one who sees her presence. They team up to find out what happened to her. The detective/horror movie is not your typical sinister movie, but more of a mystery thriller that unravels truths. And it is quite hard to dislike a movie with Mohanlal in it.
Release Date: 16 July 2004
Main Cast: Mammootty, Kavya Madhavan, Jagathy
Sanjeev Sivan’s directorial debut turned out to be one of the best Mammootty horror movies in Mollywood. A bunch of girls walk into the trap of mysteriousness after getting suspended from college. There’s a decent amount of twists, which makes this movie unpredictable. But we assure you, it’s scary and a little dark so grab a blanket to hide under when there’s a jump scare. Also, the soundtrack is as eerie as any Hollywood horror movie, adding on to the already existing spookiness of the movie.
Release Date: 20 May 2016
Main Cast: Jayaram, Ramya Krishnan, Om Puri
Satyajith, a businessman, encounters supernatural elements. He decides to meet a yogi to unravel the mystery behind his eerie visions. What unfolds is unexpected and will make you question a lot throughout the movie. It’s actually pretty good once it hits the right chord. In other words, for better or for worse, watch the entire movie and then judge it.
Release Date: 12 October 2009
Main Cast: Sathyan Anthikad, Augustine, M.A. Baby and more
10 directors. An anthology of 10 movies that are linked seamlessly. Kerala Cafe might take some time getting used to because it isn’t the typical thriller movie. There’s a lot of scary yet interesting elements in the movie. Having said that, all of it is fantastic, leaving audiences mesmerised by the well-written movie. You should watch the movie for the amazing cast and interlinked, inventive stories.
Release Date: 25 August 2006
Main Cast: Jayaram, Vineeth, Jyothirmayi
You never go in search of the ghost. That’s when things go crazy – A classic horror movie plot. Moonnamathoral talks of two girls who move into a house. But, little do they know that there’s a third stranger living in the house too. When they try to understand what the hell is going on, they get into deep inconveniences. There’s plenty of chills and twists, so beware. Watch at your own risk.
Release Date: 2 April 2004
Main Cast: Prithviraj Sukumaran, Sharmili, Jayasurya
Horror movies are scarier when there’s a kid involved. You’re not sure as to what to feel – emotional or distraught. Vellinakshatram speaks of love, family secrets, and evil possession. If you watch it now, it may seem like a parody of some sorts – blame the GFX. But, if you watch from the lens of the year it was released on, it speaks volumes in terms of craft.
Release Date: 4 November 2005
Main Cast: Prithviraj Sukumaran, Kavya Madhavan, Manoj K. Jayan
A wise man once said, “You don’t mess with the spiritual world’s balance.” When Ananthan visits an old Shiva temple to procure a jewel, he meets Digambaran, a sorcerer who is adamant to not let him in. Interestingly, this movie is based on the novel of the same name, written by Sunil Parameswaran. The movie taps into Kerala’s traditional belief in black magic and spirits while keeping you entertained throughout in a very creepy fashion. If you dig historical horror, maybe you ought to give this a try.
These are our favourite list of horror movies Mollywood has produced. If you do have more suggestions, drop a comment below.