Dybbuk movie review: There is no thrill in Emraan Hashmi’s haunted house

Emraan Hashmi in a scene from Diabbuk. Image from Amazon Prime Video.

Emraan Hashmi in a scene from Diabbuk. Image from Amazon Prime Video.

dybbuko | director: to Jay

mold: Emraan Hashmi, Nikita Dutta, Manav Kauli

run-time: 1 hour 52 minutes | Language: Hindi | Rating: 1/5

“There is no logical explanation for these things,” says a character from Dybbuk, Emraan Hashmi’s latest horror outing streaming on Amazon Prime Video. He is referring to the demonic presence in the film, but it is also an apt way to describe the film. There is no logic, no invention, ambition or even efficiency hidden anywhere in the film. This is already not a good start. And at two hours, it refuses to get any better, especially because the film refuses to rise above its mediocrity.

Written and directed by JK and based on his Malayalam hit Ezra (2017), Dybbuk is a haunted house horror that revolves around Sam Issac (Hashmi) and Mahi (Nikita Dutta), a married couple relocating from Mumbai. . Sam’s job as a nuclear waste management specialist takes the two to Mauritius. There, a demonic presence takes their lives hostage when Mahi brings home a strange wooden box – the Titanic Dybbuk – to unlock an ancient curse, and a vengeful, bloodthirsty spirit. Mahi’s pregnancy is complicated; Apparently the demonic spirit can only possess mentally ill people or newborn babies. Inevitably, Dybbuk spends nearly two hours dancing around a question: Are the lives of Mahi and her unborn child really in danger?

Unlike the film’s source material, in which the action unfolds in Cochin, its Hindi remake has international venues. I found the setting incredibly strange – the film is devoid of Indians and Indian Jews (who are an integral part of the script) and foreigners, another example of a film set against the backdrop of a foreign location for it. . In Ezra, the monstrous presence’s backstory included a clever allusion to the country’s history of multiculturalism, a uniqueness that is completely lost in the dybook. This is probably Dybbuk’s biggest flaw – it seems content to copy an exact copy of a successful film in another language without any consideration for cultural translation. It’s easy to forgive a bad film but hard to discount a storyteller who isn’t invested in his story.

One idea in the plot points and flashbacks that make up the dybbook is the weirdness of the fart. There is an exorcism, a murdered dog, the gender reveal of an unborn child, a doomed Jewish-Christian love story, an unmarried pregnancy, a suicide, Jewish black magic, and dead and living rabbis. If it feels like taking a lot, the worst part is that it doesn’t make sense or does not move the story forward satisfactorily.

That doesn’t mean that illogical movies can’t be enjoyable experiences. The filmography of Abbas Mustan is proof of this. But Dybbuk doesn’t even have the chops for filmmaking. The story and screenplay are quite weak and inconsistent. As for a horror outing, the film is curiously far from any urgency or fear. If the proverbial tortoise was running at dybbuk speed in a race, I’m inclined to speculate that the tortoise would have won – even if it had decided not to participate in the race. The film painstakingly drags on, unable to create or maintain any sort of suspense. Characters carry almost the same information, repeating it to anyone who cares to listen until the information becomes redundant in the first place. The structure of the film is so straightforward that it borders on yawn-inducing. And the perennially blank faces of actors parroting exposition-heavy dialogue add to the torture. It says something about a film if the actor (embarrassing Imad Shah) is the only one to describe the feeling of anger who seems to care about feelings.

Over the past two years, streaming platforms have democratized the playing field for Bollywood releases to an extent, in that sense, star power and an extravagant budget only help a film attract attention. They have no effect either on attention span or on the number of people who eventually watch a movie. In this scenario, without the box-office trap, Salman Khan-led Radhe may have a more equal battle ground with a film like Sardar Udham. Still, even movies like DybBook point to the problem with freedom that accompanies a streaming platform release. They are at risk of becoming a dumping ground for movies that don’t need quality filters – art that inherently has no value. Dybook is not a movie; It’s an assembled package of shots strewn together, a cinematic proof of lowest-order storytelling.

As Indians living under a government that likes to display its brute force on a daily basis, we don’t have much time to fear. We always live life in a state of fear, whether it is NCB officials going to explain our text vocabulary or whether Navika Kumar will read all our cringeworthy texts to our ex on national television. It then says a lot about Dybbuk that even in this environment, it fails to do what it promises: scare its audience.

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