When the central character of your movie literally utters the moral of the story at the very end of the movie, I personally consider that as the failure of a filmmaker. Evil Eye directed by Elan Dassani and Rajeev Dassani feels extremely clumsy largely because of its inefficiency to bring in heft to the narrative. The poster of the movie says “Trust your mother’s instincts” and looking at the mother in this movie, it almost feels like this Amazon movie was made to support everything that was problematic in Netflix’s Indian Matchmaking.
Usha and her daughter Pallavi are our central characters. Before her marriage, Usha was in a very abusive relationship and she believes that the curse of that man is following her daughter as well. So she is extremely superstitious and her level of caring for her daughter is almost on a harassing level. The story takes a drastic turn when Pallavi finds a guy named Sandeep and Usha starts to get this feeling that this man is the reincarnation of the man who abused her in the past. The drama that unfolds after that is what we are seeing in Evil Eye.
The movie written by Madhuri Shekar is trying to say this idea that misogynist men are like these ghosts that are reborn. And running away isn’t the option; you have to train your daughters to fight against their bigotry. I get it. It’s a really good thought to infuse in a horror drama. But Evil Eye has so much of other content that just doesn’t have any sort of life, and by the time the movie reaches this “moral of the story” part, you will feel exhausted. And this mother character was very problematic for me. The movie is trying to portray her controlling nature as care and I was hoping at some point they will address this as a psychological issue so that we can have a sense of empathy towards the trauma the character has faced. But what we get to see is a character that speaks about standing up against abuse and at the same time has no regard for personal space.
There are only four major characters here. Sarita Choudhury who plays the role of the concerned mother Usha was fine in that character. The writing here is trying to make the characters sound a bit too overdramatic and this lack of nuances in the writing is limiting the performances too. I liked the minimalistic portrayal of Krishnan by Bernard White and, Omkar Maskati who tried to play his character with minimalism couldn’t create the fishiness he was supposed to create. Sunita Mani gets to play a character that is important to the story but doesn’t really offer anything great in terms of characterization.
When you have so many Indian names in the back and front of a Hollywood movie, you would feel that they would try to break the perception already created by Hollywood filmmakers about this part of the world. But the Dassanis have not done anything to change that. The US portions have this bright white exotic look and the very first visual of India has monkeys on the side of a crowded road and yeah, the yellow tint is there for sure. The writing doesn’t have any sort of life in it. The initial portions where we get to see these disagreements between the mother and daughter sounds so artificial. This movie is placed under the category of horror movies and it takes an awfully long time to get into that horror movie space.
On the whole Evil Eye is an extremely bland horror film that pretty much forgets to take off. The preach you get to hear at the end of the movie is almost like the makers telling the viewers that this is what we meant to convey, in case if you didn’t get it.
The preach you get to hear at the end of the movie is almost like the makers telling the viewers that this is what we meant to convey, in case if you didn’t get it.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended