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EVIL EYE *

Directed by Elan Dassani & Rajeev Dassani.

Starring Sunita Mani, Sarita Choudhury, Omar Maskati.

Horror, US, certificate 15, 90 minutes.

 

Streaming on Amazon Prime from 13th October.

 

The third of four Blumhouse features being released straight to Amazon Prime seemingly deals with Indian mythology. Pallavi, a single woman living in New Orleans, is becoming increasingly agitated with her mother, Usha’s meddling ways in trying to get her married. However, when Pallavi falls head over heels for the handsome and rich Sandeep, Usha, who has long since returned to Delhi, feels that a figure from her past is trying to get revenge through Sandeep to take everything she cares for away from her.

 

Based on an audio play which was produced by Audible, Evil Eye fails to distinguish itself with this visual adaptation. On a storytelling level it fails to delve into both the fascinating mythology of India which has never really been explored properly onscreen through a Western horror lens or as a drama exploring the friction and distance between a mother and daughter who may be turning her back on her culture and family.

 

Being the directorial debut of twin brothers Elan and Rajeev Dassani there is sadly nothing here to suggest that the horror genre may be their particular field of expertise. Completely lacking in any atmosphere, it shares the same visual style and story beats that can be found in your typical woman in peril from a shady man Hallmark Channel television movie. Aside from a tiny portion of atmospheric shots of Delhi at night there is zero atmosphere to go along with its flimsy supernatural plot.

 

The films leading actresses deserve something much better. Whilst giving it their all they fail to elevate the humdrum proceedings. Sunita Mani has proved her versatility with comedy and drama in GLOW and MR. ROBOT and she more than proves her skill here by giving her character an easy-going wit and likability, while Sarita Choudhury manages to give her character of worried, superstitious mother more dimension than what has been written for her with the script. Omar Maskati struggles to bring such qualities to his character of the seemingly too good to be true Sandeep.

 

So far this collaboration between Amazon and Blumhouse seems to be used as a dumping ground for projects that would struggle to find a place on the big screen, especially in this year where cinemas have sadly been left empty and avoided due to the ongoing COVID situation. However even in a normal time a film as paper thin as EVIL EYE would struggle to find an audience. But if you like films where every second scene consists of characters describing the plot at length on the phone to each other in such visually rich environments as a barely furnished sitting room then EVIL EYE is the must-see movie of the year.

 

Iain MacLeod.

 

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