I’m not kidding, though I wish I were. The premise of a spirit raping a human is taken from Hollywood 1982 film The Entity, which was later adapted in Bollywood with the Tabu-starrer Hawa in 2003 (it remains a blot on Tabu’s otherwise stellar resume).
In Haunted, we meet Rehan (Mahaakshay Chakraborty) who has just returned to India after having studied at “Stanford.” He’s assisting his father in selling off a huge property called Glen Manor. But on reaching the place he meets a deranged, strange man (Sanjay Sharma, fab) who keeps repeating “you’re the one”.
Rehan realizes the crumbling mansion is haunted, and learns the story behind the spirits. The Strange Man turns out to be the one who’ll help Rehan save the girl from the clutches of the rapist ghost (any more details would serve as spoilers). There is a hint of romance, and an out-of-place scene showing off Mahaakshay’s dancing skills. As for the evil ghost, he’s quasi-comical when he’s doing the grimacing act with the prosthetic face.
Debut actress Tia Bajpai (one feels for her for having to debut in this sleaze-fest), is palpably talented and one hopes there are better things in store for her. Mahaakshay sports the befuddled expression all along. Arif Zakaria growls and grimaces as the rapist ghost. The supporting cast comes up with spirited (pun intended) performances.
The film’s second half has that odd moment of scare; but the sleaze gets more audacious. You have the evil spirit flying around in a night-gown (when it takes a female form) and tries to rape the girl in this form. So it’s girl-on girl action for the viewer – of course, one of the girls has a decomposed face like the ghosts in our films. The finale is inspired by Japanese horror films like Ringu. The dialogue is unintentionally hilarious.
Shockingly, the rapes are shown in grotesque detail – there are shots of the professor hitting the girl and then forcing himself on her; then you have close-ups of the girl’s body parts etc—the desperation to add sleaze through the rape scenes is quite pathetic, really. It reminds you of the C-grade horror films in the '80s that brought in sex to lure a certain type of audience – only, this one’s more technically evolved.
A viewer commented that perhaps director Vikram Bhatt had shot only a few reels of the movie that kept getting repeated through flashbacks. What happened to Vikram Bhatt who gave us the reasonably engaging Raaz and 1920? A word about Bhatt— his stint at horror (Raaz, 1920, Shaapit, Haunted) is getting progressively worse. Unable to imagine a story more misogynous, sick, and bizarre than this one, perhaps it’s time to request Bhatt to put a stop on it.
One has to talk about the 3D – this is India’s first stereoscopic 3D film and admittedly it’s a great format for horror. The cinematography adds to the visual abundance of the film. But filmmakers ought to appreciate that 3D or not, ultimately the viewer is looking for a great story, not gimmickry. And one certainly never imagined one would have to perch up the uncomfortable 3D glasses to watch the heroine getting raped and molested by assorted forms (human, spirit, spirit in female form...egad!).
There’s nothing more to say – you’ve read the review!
Verdict: Half a star