‘Bhoot’ Review: Vicky Shines in This Psychological-Horror Drama
The first part in a horror franchise, Bhoot is about a ship that mysteriously appears and docks itself at the Arabian sea coast. After some nudge and wink jokes between Prithvi and his friend Riyaz (Akash Dhar), the two shipping officers about “dushman desh ka haath (enemy nation’s involvement)”, the humongous ship with no one aboard draws Prithvi’s (Vicky Kaushal) keen interest.
There are some very common tropes that we associate with the horror genre and debutant director Bhanu Pratap Singh pretty much ticks most of the boxes. With some, he genuinely excels but by the end of this two and a half hour saga, the film loses steam. In Bhoot, the moments of dread are as important as the buildup. But this unrelenting ominous journey has its fair share of hits and misses.
The huge ship against a gloomy-looking Mumbai skyline propels fear and Pushkar Singh’s camera captures a formidable canvas where we await the moment when the rug is pulled from underneath our feet. All the jump scare moments are positioned strategically. But the most interesting bit that keeps the proceedings going is the premise that is the ship the only thing that is haunted? Or is Prithvi haunted too?
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The visions that Prithvi’s mind throws up - are they real or are they imaginary? As man fighting his own demons and mourning a huge personal loss are his sightings real? Or does it all only exist in his mind?
But then how does one decide on the validity of ghosts anyway? The strength of this genre lies therefore in how convincingly it makes us believe in the conjuring up of this dreadful world of apparitions and crawling headless bodies. And that certainly can’t happen with a beeping ghost detecting machine alone! To the film’s credit, the makers do attempt a gripping psychological thriller and traditional horror mesh but that imaginativeness soon gives way to some very predictable contrivances.
Bhumi Pednekar has a cameo appearance and Ashutosh Rana is mostly underutilised. Meher Vij, in a critical role here, delivers like an expert but delicately.
By the time we’ve reached the climax, the taut narrative of the second half falters repeatedly. The plot mechanics involved in trying to answer the ‘why’ related to the supernatural occurrences appear overwrought and stretched.
Bhoot is a fine effort, especially in getting the atmospherics right. The technical finesse too is impressive but the story falls short in trying to keep the audience hooked.