Bhoot review by The Grim Ringler

When I personally think of Indian films I think of overblown musicals with crazy stories, fun music, and really freakin hot women belly-dancing. The last thing I think about is an atmospheric horror film, yet, thats exactly what Bhoot is. This is such a departure from the norm in India that the director even felt it necessary to put a disclaimer before the film warning you that his intention was to scare you. The funny thing is, this isnt an idle threat.

A young couple is looking for a new home in which to start their new life together but nothing is really grabbing the mans attention until he is shown a flat that the real-estate agent reluctantly shows him. It is spacious and very affordable but has a dark past the last tenants, a woman and her child, died tragically when the mother threw herself and the child off the balcony but it is a past that the husband decides is inconsequential and takes the flat for he and his wife. His wife loves the place and they immediately move in, happy to be beginning a life together finally. As the two settle into their new lives though the wife begins to see things and feel things, as if someone, or something is watching her. She dismisses these moments as the weirdness of being in a new home but as these moments get more frequent and more vivid she realizes something is wrong and turns to her husband, who laughs off her insecurities. Laughs them off that is until it becomes apparent that something really is wrong with his wife and his own fear that she may have murdered the doorman takes hold. The wife, who has taken up sleepwalking, is changing, and the husband is beginning to fear her as much as he fears for her so he turns to a doctor for help. When the doctor arrives though the woman is all but catatonic, her voice not her own as she lays strapped to the bed. Feeling she is suffering from multiple personality syndrome the doctor struggles to understand what is going on with this young woman but the housekeeper for the couple feels something else is the matter the wife is possessed. The dead mother has taken up residence in the other womans body and has something she wants people to know. Desperate to understand what is happening to his wife, the husband turns to a woman who knows magic and it is she who begins to decipher the truth the wife is possessed, and the only way to free her is for the truth of the dead woman and her sons deaths to be revealed. But in so doing they risk losing the wife completely to the vengeful spirit who wants nothing more than revenge for her death and cares not who suffers on the way.

While this is a pretty routine and by the numbers ghost story the deft direction here really raises it beyond the mediocre output this subgenre usually gives birth too. The camera sweeps and zooms, keeping the viewer always within the frame of the story, no matter how odd or far-out it gets. The slow build of the tale also works well, though the film is a touch too long, and builds a real sense of dread. The biggest problem I had here was that the husband is such a cad that you cant imagine anyone WANTING to marry him, but what do I know? The best thing I can say about this film is that the director takes ideas and themes that are very well worn here in the states and makes them fit his culture and in so doing creates a very grim and credible story. You wont be bowled over by originality here as much as by a sense of stylish direction and the things that might lurk in the dark shadows of this world. Nope, nothing groundbreaking here, but a pretty damn good ghost story just the same.

c




7 out of 10 Jackasses
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