The 3D technology and the horror genre seen made for each other. For what better way to heighten the spine-chilling experience than to watch it in this format.
However, Bhoot Returns – an amalgamation of several horror films in the past—fails to jolt. There’s the little girl, the haunted house, the superstitious versus scientific debate and the mumbo-jumbo.
When Tarun (J D Chakravarthi) moves in his family to a new bungalow, his wife Namrata (Manisha Koirala) is uncomfortable. She wonders the catch in getting the sprawling bungalow at such a cheap price. Howevemr the children Taman and Nimmi are excited and take to the place immediately. The characters moving into a new home is a favourite plot-point with horror filmmakers and this follows the same route.
Soon enough the little girl Nimmi (Alayana Sharma) finds a doll and also talks to an “empty space” saying that she’s talking to her friend. Another cliché is the house-help who is certain the house is haunted.
Soon, each night at the bungalow seem to turn for the worse, all with knocks at unearthly hours, demonic sounds and eerie movements throughout the house.
Enter the next cliché of Indian horror stories – the psychiatrist who explains this off as an attention-grabbing tactic. The “Paranormal Activities” lead the family to install video cameras at various places in the house.
The film has more teases than scares. There are only about a couple of scenes that are truly frightful. The clichés of the swing moving by itself, creaky doors, and camera placed at odd angles is done to death. Background score by Sandeep Chowta is intermittently effective.
Horror (Vaastu Shastra, Raat, Bhoot, Phoonk) has been Ram Gopal Varma’s strong point. However, with this film, RGV doesn’t offer anything new, and in fact the lack of attempt to innovate is only too glaring. The 3D technology appears only as a gimmick hardly adding to the horror experience.
Alayana Sharma is adorable but one wonders if it is advisable for children to act in such films. Manisha Koirala is earnest but could have had a better comeback film. The rest of the cast is competent. But sadly this film is not a patch on the entertaining and innovative Bhoot (2003)!
Horror films do find an audience—but even horror fans cannot be taken for granted. One hopes RGV is back with the next installment of Bhoot, but with more innovative storytelling, and less clichés.
Rating: One and a half stars