A young boy repeatedly complains to his mum that he feels that someone the same as him is always around. In order to convince him that is not true his mum decides to listen. This is Naveen Sunag’s psychological thriller, Someone Same As Me.
As children, everyone at some point has had that fear of the unknown, the feeling that there is someone in the room with them; checking the wardrobes or taking a look under the bed, just to make sure everything is safe before we go to sleep. Director Sunag has taken this age-old tale and given it a modern spin by placing it in the diverse 2020s where we are introduced to a small Asian family unit of a mother and her young son. The film only runs for 5 minutes, so we don’t really get time to learn much about the family or their background. Is she a single mum? Are there any other family members? Where do they work and live? These details remain absent and many questions unanswered, but they are not important in the larger scheme of things. Someone Same As Me is all about its premise and that premise is reminiscent of M Night Shyamalan’s The Sixth Sense.
Much like Shyamalan’s sinister blockbuster, Someone Same As Me isn’t a psychological thriller in the modern sense, but more a ghost story that many of us would have been told around a campfire or read in the works of Edgar Allen Poe and HP Lovecraft. Stories that involved ordinary people experiencing paranormal things. It has long been suggested, by those who do believe in the supernatural, that children are better than adults at seeing ghosts because, unlike adults, the barriers of skepticism and disbelief have not yet built up. Even today, many children have an ‘invisible’ friend – someone who they can sometimes be seen being in deep conversation with. In this film, a small boy tells his mum that he can feel and see there is “someone the same as me”. The child is very convincing.
The Mum is played by Hadeesa Ramjee and, although there is little room for any grand gestures, her performance is very natural; she underplays mum in a flat, matter-of-fact way and there is a tenderness in her confusion. Samruddh Sunag as her son Anvik is also particularly good; he has fewer lines but more to do in the film and shows great acting chops. He is able to look solemn in reaction shots and the delivery of his dialogue requires good timing. He also shows he has the ability to listen, a trait not all child actors have.
Sunag’s direction is efficient and skillful, he gives us a couple of Dutch angle shots, as well as some interesting two-shots and close-ups. The opening scene, with a conversation taking place in a parked car, remains interesting thanks to Sunag’s shot choices. He also acts as his own cinematographer and his use of bright colours in Anvik’s clothing and bedroom is a nice contrast to the plainness of his mother. The only real criticisms are of the technical variety, with some of Sunag’s transitions being a little clumsy and the sound mix making the music and sound effects much louder than the dialogue.
Someone Same As Me is an enjoyable short film that thanks to its director has a kind of calm self-confidence that allows us to take an intriguing walk down a familiarly strange and supernatural path.