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Manjummel Boys Review: A Heartfelt Tale of Brotherhood and Resilience


Manjummel Boys, a 2024 Malayalam film directed by Chidambaram S. Poduval, is not your typical coming-of-age story. It's a captivating blend of genres – a lighthearted vacation film that takes a sharp turn into a heart-stopping survival thriller. The movie's uniqueness lies in its ability to seamlessly weave together moments of camaraderie and humor with an atmosphere of claustrophobic dread. Inspired by true events, Manjummel Boys takes viewers on a chilling journey into the depths of the Guna Caves, also known as the "Devil's Kitchen," where the true test of friendship and human resilience unfolds.


Plot and Characters

The story follows a group of eleven friends from Manjummel, a village in Kerala, India, on an exciting vacation to Kodaikanal. The first act establishes their dynamic, filled with laughter, banter, and the innocent anticipation of a memorable trip. However, their carefree spirit takes a drastic turn when they decide to explore a hidden cave system. What starts as an adventurous detour soon becomes a desperate fight for survival as they become trapped in the labyrinthine caves, facing dwindling resources, claustrophobia, and the ever-present threat of unknown dangers.

The film stars an ensemble cast, which includes Soubin Shahir, Sreenath Bhasi, Balu Varghese, Ganapathi S. Poduval, Lal Jr., Deepak Parambol, Abhiram Radhakrishnan, Arun Kurian, Khalid Rahman, Chandu Salimkumar, Shebin Benson, and Vishnu Reghu1. Notably, Soubin Shahir plays the character Kuttan, and Sreenath Bhasi plays the character Subhash. As their ordeal unfolds, their individual strengths and weaknesses come to light, showcasing the complexities of friendship under extreme pressure.

Cinematography and Visual Effects

Manjummel Boys excels in its visual storytelling. The idyllic beauty of Kodaikanal serves as a stark contrast to the dark and oppressive caves. Cinematographer Shyju Khalid masterfully captures the vastness of the natural landscapes and the suffocating darkness of the cave interiors. The use of handheld camerawork during the panic-stricken moments creates a sense of urgency and disorientation, putting viewers right amid the characters' struggle.

While the film relies heavily on practical sets and lighting, the use of visual effects is subtle yet impactful. The vast underground network of caves is meticulously crafted, creating a believable and terrifying labyrinth. In some scenes, subtle CGI enhances the sense of danger – a sudden rockfall or a glimpse of unseen creatures lurking in the shadows. The focus remains on the characters and their plight, and the visuals complement the narrative rather than outshine it.


Acting Performances

The strength of Manjummel Boys lies in the collective performance of its ensemble cast. Each actor delivers a nuanced portrayal of their character's transformation from carefree vacationer to desperate survivor. Soubin Shahir’s performance has been lauded for his portrayal of Kuttan. His character transitions seamlessly through a range of emotions, enhancing the film’s overall beauty. Sreenath Bhasi’s performance as Subhash, who falls into a pit, has been appreciated. The supporting cast is equally impressive, adding layers of personality and vulnerability to the group dynamic.

Soundtrack and Background Score

The film's music, composed by Sushin Shyam, plays a pivotal role in amplifying the emotional journey. The soundtrack features a mix of folk-inspired tracks that capture the lightheartedness of the initial vacation scenes and haunting melodies that build tension and suspense during the cave exploration. The background score is particularly effective, utilizing a range of instruments and sound effects to create a sense of unease and claustrophobia. The silence in certain scenes is equally powerful, highlighting the isolation and vulnerability of the characters.

Social Commentary

While the primary focus of Manjummel Boys is the survival narrative, the film subtly weaves in social commentary. It highlights the dangers of irresponsible tourism and the importance of respecting nature's boundaries. The friends' disregard for warnings and their decision to explore a dangerous cave system without proper preparation serves as a cautionary tale. Additionally, the film touches upon themes of friendship, courage, and the resilience of the human spirit. As the characters face their darkest fears, their unwavering support for each other serves as a beacon of hope, reminding viewers of the strength found in unity.


Critical Reception

Manjummel Boys has received widespread acclaim from critics, praising its unique blend of genres, well-developed characters, and suspenseful execution. Many reviewers lauded the film's ability to balance humor and light-hearted moments with genuine scares and moments of emotional vulnerability.

However, a few critics noted the predictable nature of some plot elements and the occasional melodramatic scene. Overall, the positive reception outweighs the minor criticisms, solidifying Manjummel Boys' position as a compelling and thought-provoking cinematic experience.

Audience Response

Manjummel Boys has resonated with audiences, generating a significant amount of buzz on social media and online platforms. Viewers have praised the film's realistic portrayal of friendship dynamics, the relatable characters, and the edge-of-the-seat thrills.

The film's box office performance has been impressive, exceeding expectations and becoming one of the highest-grossing Malayalam films of the year. This success can be attributed to a combination of factors - positive word-of-mouth recommendations, strong marketing campaigns that capitalized on the film's unique premise, and the enduring popularity of survival thrillers among Indian audiences.


Manjummel Boys is a captivating film that transcends the boundaries of genre. It's a story about friendship, courage, and the will to survive in the face of unimaginable adversity. The film boasts strong performances, masterful camerawork, and a haunting score that creates an immersive and emotionally charged experience. While the exploration of the caves forms the central plot, the true heart of the film lies in the unwavering bond between the friends. Manjummel Boys is a must-watch for anyone seeking a thrilling cinematic experience with a powerful emotional core.


Manjummel Boys is a film that caters to a wide range of audiences. If you enjoy suspenseful thrillers with relatable characters and a touch of social commentary, then this film is definitely worth your time. However, viewers who are particularly sensitive to claustrophobic environments or scenes of potential danger may want to approach the film with caution.

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