So we are into the new year and no major releases in its first week. And so I decided to review the latest netflix original Ghost Stories(kyunki dukaan toh chalaani padegi na). The third in the series(after Bombay Talkies and Lust Stories) ,this movie brings together the same directors from the previous two installments to give you scares(really?) in four short stories. Like I did in Lust Stories, my review will feature each story from the one I liked the least to the one I liked the best(along with the rating) before getting to the final rating of the movie as a whole. And so let the experimentation in reviewing movies begin with this anthology…
#Number4 #KaranJohar – Easily the weakest story out of the four. The screenplay is flat and almost a snoozefest. Focus was more on the lavish sets but the scare was missing in an absurd final act! Karan Johar may have been Student Of The Year last time in Lust Stories but he clearly misses the mark in a genre which is out of his comfort zone. Performances by Avinash Tiwari and Mrunal Thakur are the saving graces of this short. 1.5/5.
#Number3 #ZoyaAkhtar – Another Director who thrives on characterisation but didn’t quite make an impact in the horror genre. The premise of this story seems interesting and the writing is clever in parts but it clearly doesn’t create that impact which it should have. Direction is decent. But the performances(like in all Zoya Akhtar films) holds you throughout. While the talented Vijay Verma is wasted, Sulekha Sikri is one point. But the surprise package is Jahnavi Kapoor. A bundle of talent, Jahnavi shines in this short. 2.5/5.
#Number2 #AnuragKashyap – For those that know me also know that Anurag Kashyap is one of my favourite directors. While attempting horror for the first time, he excels once again. Here I may add that many people may not enjoy or even understand this short. It requires some patience(as it is a slow burn) and alot of attention to the visual imagery to crack this puzzle. Knowing Anurag, there is no spoon feeding and constantly challenges you as a viewer. This is no different. If you are looking for jump scares there ain’t any. Instead focus is on creating an atmosphere of disgust slipping in a dash of forklore. Excellent writing and probably the performance of the whole movie by Shobita Dhulipala. BTW, this movie might require a second viewing too understand it completely, I had to pause gather my thoughts and then proceed again. Not a ‘light’ watch(no pun intended) by any stretch of your imagination. 4/5 and two thumbs up!
#Number1 #DibakarBanerjee – It really was a photo finish but had to give it to Dibakar for a smartly written and crafted zombie thriller linking it with the socio political situation that stands today in our country. The proceedings just hold your attention throughout and also force you to think long after it has all ended. Excellent performances(with the scary Gulshan Devaiah in it too) that just make you savour this short! 4/5 and two thumbs up!!
I did watch Ghost Stories last night with all lights turned off hoping to be scared. While none of the shorts had jump scares a couple of them really tested my intelligence as a viewer. On the whole, Ghost Stories is about two hits and two misses(with one train wreck). Watch it primarily for the 2nd and 3rd shorts, while the first and last can be skipped!