31 Oct 2020: 'Kaali Khuhi' review: Shabana Azmi can't save this unbearable movie
But the new movie, directed by Terrie Samundra, falls straight out flat and deathly dull, thanks to its shallow writing and poor execution.
Here's our review.
Plot: A Punjab village, and its many dark secrets
Darshan (Satyadeep Mishra), a sourpuss of a man, living in a Punjab city, decides to travel to his ancestral village after learning about his ailing mother.
He takes along his unwilling wife Priya (Sanjeeda Shaikh) and daughter (Riva Arora).
However, soon after their arrival, everything starts to go awry as apparently an old curse has returned to the village, which hides many dark secrets.
Details: Feel scared or control laughter? You decide
Giving credit where it's due, Kaali Khuhi has been shot expertly. The use of natural lighting lends the movie an authentic vibe.
But that's pretty much all that the film does to impress the audience.
Otherwise, it is replete with such ridiculously predictable and old-fashioned jump scares that it becomes challenging for the viewer to control laughter, let alone feel scared.
Details: Plus, it is too simplistic and slow
Furthermore, Kaali Khuhi is extremely slow and simplistic.
And while simplistic stories sure have the potential to be wonderful, their simplicity should not take a toll on their impact.
However, in this one, anything barely happens in at least the first half. The film moves at a super slow pace and hence makes for an unbearably dull and tedious experience.
Performances: Shabana Azmi's talents are criminally wasted in the film
One question I could not evade throughout the film was - What exactly is Shabana Azmi doing in this film? Perhaps, trying to save it. But to no avail.
As the reliant and understanding Satya Maasi, the veteran puts a fierce and compelling performance for as long as the dull and bleak script allows her to.
Azmi's talents are criminally wasted in this movie.
Final word: To watch or not to watch?
It is clear that Kaali Khuhi was meant to be a horror tale with a pinch of social message.
Its intentions are understandable, but the execution is unforgivable.
The writing is simplistic and the direction too bland to eventually make any difference.
And when even Shabana Azmi cannot save your movie, only god knows who will.
Final rating: 1.5 out of 5 stars.