The speciality of a Bhatt (Raaz, 1920, Shaapit, Raaz 3) has been in recognizing spirits as being evil and capable of human crimes. While Haunted saw the spirit sexually assault the heroine, this film has the spirit play the third part in a bizarre love triangle.
The story of the film is about a famous poet Jaidev Verma (Aftab Shivdasani) and Smruti (Tia Bajpai), whom he finds near a lake. Jaidev lives like a recluse in a mansion. He adores his sister Karuna (Vidya Malavade) who is very supportive of him. When Jaidev finds Smruti at a nearby lake in an unconscious state, he brings her back home.
Karuna suspects something is wrong and doesn't want her to stay, but Jaidev persists. Despite Karuna intuitively knowing that something is wrong with Smruti, Jaidev insists they take care of her. Interestingly, Smruti has lost her memory and she does not know why and what happened to her.
Jaidev decides to take her to a famous hospital in Shimla. On their way to Shimla they stop at a guesthouse and that’s where strange things start happening. What happens next forms the crux of the film.
Fans of 1920 will remember that the film broke new ground in the Hindi film horror genre. Extremely classy and truly horrific, the film was a real entertainer. This one falls short of the original, but still remains a reasonably good horror flick.
Like in the first installment the evil spirit is as teasing as it is dangerous, and the echoing laughter remains. There is enough mumbo-jumbo in the form of a man who sees a bird fly from the graveyard, stating that it signifies that an evil spirit is about be awakened. Then there are direct copies from Hollywood films like Anthony Hopkins starrer The Rite (2011) that also had the protagonist coughing out nails.
Debut director Bhushan Patel sticks to the regulars of a typical horror film. His storytelling is self-assured and confident. Technically, the film is as competent as 1920 with superb special effects.
Dialogue has the usual old school quality that is reminiscent of Bhatt films. Sample: ‘Iske andar shaitan hai’. Chirantan’s music is very good – one of the highlights of the film.
The performances are competent. Tia Bajpai shows growth as an actor. Aftab Shiavdasani also does well. Sharad Kelkar is impressive.
So there you have it—1920 Evil Returns has the thrills, chills, a filmi story plus great music. It doesn’t have anything new, but then, it never promised to break new ground. Worth a watch for fans of horror--Vikram Bhatt style!
Rating: Two and a half stars