Evil Eye is a horror-thriller movie directed by Elan Dassani and Rajeev Dassani, and stars Sarita Choudhury, Sunita Mani, Bernard White and Omar Maskati.
Too old to be single
One of the biggest fears of any Indian parent is her 29-year-old being unmarried. That is what makes up for the plot in Amazon’s Evil Eye, one of the four features films under the Welcome tT The Blumhouse anthology series. If you’re an Indian woman nearing her 30s and, god forbid, single, then this is probably a familiar setting for you.
Usha is very concerned that her daughter Pallavi is single and thus sets up numerous dates because she’s “looking out for her”. On one such date she meets Sandeep, a handsome, well-off young man, while waiting for the man her mother fixed her up with. The two connect and things take off at the speed of light. This prompts Usha to grow concerned, and she realises that her daughter’s relationship has a connection to her own past.
Evil Eye focuses more on Indian mysticism and superstitions and on a mother’s desperate attempt to make her daughter listen to her than the actual thrill element that it wants to deliver. The movie’s taut and the script creates tension and ambiguity between the three characters, but not because you’re wondering whether Sandeep really is the reincarnation of Usha’s ex-lover. You’re scared to all hell looking at Usha’s behaviour.
She’s more of a pushover than any desi parent I’ve ever seen and the vague “proofs” that she bases her assumptions on seem delusional. You’re scared for Usha and Pallavi. Throughout the movie we see visuals of her relationship with her ex which are nothing short of horrifying, and the movie lets you know that this woman has gone through enough. Maybe that’s what has messed her up? You want her to get some help and you’re scared for her well-being.
We get to the “horror” part in the last half-an-hour or so, which finally meshes the two stories together. You know where the story is headed, and when the “twist” does come around, it really isn’t much of a twist to be honest. It’s a predictable storyline, and the “stalker toying with their victim” is not looming and prevalent enough for you to be scared of Sandeep.
All of Usha’s fears about her daughter are things we have watched in Hindi movies and in real life too many times. However, it gets to an annoying degree in Evil Eye. Usha is obsessed about her daughter’s marital life, and that is all that she talks about for well over one hour into the movie. She’s either unsatisfied with Pallavi’s singlehood, or unsatisfied with how well her relationship is going. There’s no winning when it comes to Usha, and it’s honestly very scary and concerning behaviour. This, however, makes the movie slow most of the time, the tension isn’t palpable, and we don’t want to hear about Usha’s obsession with Pallavi’s life after a while.
Evil Eye tries to push the desi narrative to a nauseating level. Apart from the standard marriage fiasco, you know that the people in this movie are Indians by the sheer amount of imagery that is slumped onto the movie. And nowhere is it more apparent than the contrast between Delhi and New Orleans. Delhi’s streets and Uma’s house are a burst of colours, flavours, people and life. Usha’s house, too, is filled with religious stuff, an evil eye thing that the camera pans to sinisterly for some reason, and desi food being made in the kitchen. However, the same cannot be said about New Orleans, which is just… there.
Acting in the movie is fine, with Sarita Choudhury playing her role as the overbearing Usha with intensity. She’s the right amount of delusional and warmth, and switches between the two with ease. It makes her character scarier and more believable than the antagonist, which is honestly startling. Sunita Mani and Bernard White are great too as Pallavi and Krishnan, and add depth to their roles as the father-daughter duo. Their concern is genuine, and you feel bad for them. However, Omar Maskati’s Sandeep looks nothing short of sweet in the movie instead of menacing, and except for a certain “madness” in his eyes, is not threatening.
Summing up: Evil Eye
Amazon’s Evil Eye falters with its plot and invokes no sense of fear in the viewers. The mother-daughter dynamic, although spot-on, becomes tedious, annoying and lagging after a while. The movie decides to deliver its punchline an hour too late and by then, you don’t care about what’s going on anymore. There’s a lot that could’ve been done with the movie, but Evil Eye, in a bid to be too Indian, becomes silly and unrealistic.
Also, why does Pallavi wear that makeup 24×7? It’s like I’ve walked into a saans-bahu serial on Amazon, and I am not here for that.
Evil Eye is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
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