Sunday, May 29, 2016


When The Walls Close In

A woman alone in a spooky apartment is a horror movie staple. Pavan Kirpalani uses all the devices of the genre, and borrows from various films, yet does something interesting with the twist in the end.

The film opens and closes with a painting by artist Mehek (Radhika Apte), which explains a lot in hindsight.  After an attack by a cabbie, Mehek starts to suffer from agoraphobia (an anxiety disorder) so crippling that she is unable to step out of the house. Her sister (Nivedita Bhattacharya) is sympathetic up to a point, and the therapist (Faezeh Jalali) tries to help, but Mehek’s mental state is too fragile. Instead of committing her to an asylum, her “good friend” Shaan (Satyadeep Mishra) takes her to stay in a friend’s vacant apartment in the hope that it will help cure her.

It seems unconvincing that a woman in her condition would be left alone; also Shaan seems to be a sucker for punishment.  Early in the film Mehek rudely rebuffs a timid advance; she also refuses to acknowledge that he is her boyfriend and treats him with mild contempt.

The apartment is creepy looking and there are strange sounds and sights—that Mehek may or may not be imagining— and a diary, that convince her that the previous occupant of the place was murdered by her lover and neighbor, the decidedly weird Manu (Ankur Vikal), and it is her spirit haunting the flat. Mehek’s chirpy young neighbor Nikki (Yashaswini Dayama), with an over-active imagination and possibly a troubles, single parent home life, jumps in to help Mehek with the excitement of the young.

Mostly it is the typical Bhoot kind of chiller, with jump-inducing scenes paced out regularly; it is towards the end that there is a tiny infusion of humour and the twist that clarifies some, if not all, of what went before.

The film rests mostly on Radhika Apte’s performance and though she overdoes the eye-popping a bit, she manages to make Mehek a sympathetic character.

Phobia, will, of course, appeal to viewers who like horror films, and maybe to those who are put off by the gore and fake scares that so many filmmakers use in their ineffectual attempts at the genre.


Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

eXTReMe Tracker