Karma may be nothing more than a superstitious belief. No matter what, there’s no denying that actions have consequences, and consequences can span generations.
Elan and Rajeev Dassani’s film, Evil Eye, explores the madness that can come with karma in just one person’s life. Although it’s not a bad movie whatsoever, horror fans may be in for a disappointment if they’re looking for good scares.
Evil Eye follows Pallavi Karti (Sunita Mani), a student who’s consistently pressured by her mother Usha (Sarita Choudary) to find a respectable husband at her age of 29. Usha has a mystical approach to life, so mystical that it sometimes interferes with her relationship with Pallavi. Upon meeting Sandeep (Omar Maskati), a wealthy young man looking for a romantic interest himself, Pallavi faces the challenging task of persuading Usha that he is indeed the right man for her. Unbeknownst to Pallavi, however, Sandeep is carrying a sinister secret, and it may very well cost both of their lives.
The Dassani brothers’ film is billed as a horror movie, and there are definitely horrific elements present. There is a sinister force at work throughout the story, hinted through point-of-view shots and sudden flashbacks with violent imagery. There is also a lot at stake for the characters, and as we grow to care for them, we also come to feel the growing tension with them.
However, Evil Eye comes off as more of a personal drama than a psychological horror film. A majority of the story is spent establishing the relationship between Pallavi, Usha, and Sandeep. Except for flashbacks that hint at past trauma – namely for Usha – it has the same tension as a soap opera in many ways. Will Usha support Pallavi’s relationship? Will Pallavi accept Sandeep as a good suitor? Will Sandeep reveal his true self to Usha and Pallavi…and so on.
This isn’t to dismiss the film outright. For its faults, Evil Eye makes up for with superb acting and a well-told story. Sunita Mani is perfect as Pallavi and her chemistry with Sarita Choudary, her overbearing mother, is spot on and the driving force behind the film. Omar Maskati does well as the charming but mysterious Sandeep, while Bernard White carries the humor as Krishnan, Pallavi’s quirky father. There’s never a dull moment through the entirety of the film, and makes for a compelling watch despite the lack of overt horror elements.
In lack of thrills and chills, Evil Eye can still serve as a cautionary tale about karma. The most basic idea at work is how actions have consequences, no matter how well-intentioned. Though Evil Eye doesn’t dish out any gore or scare scenes, there’s an ominous feeling throughout the film that something isn’t quite right in this world. The setting takes place between New Orleans and Delhi, suggesting there is no way to hide from poor choices. Thankfully, this concept keeps the audience hooked, and at the same time relaxed, even when we’re expecting a scare.
Life’s all about making choices and seeing Evil Eye – thankfully – will not be a bad choice. The cast is enjoyable in their performances, and, in many ways, the film does leave you thinking even when it’s over. The Dassani brothers may have missed the mark in making a horror film, but they still succeeded in making a film worth watching.
Review screener provided.
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