The cops suspect our player boyfriend Vikram (Randeep Hooda), despite the fact that it was he who alerted the cops about her disappearance. That she had broken up with him through a recorded message asking him not to find her makes it all the more mysterious.
Meanwhile Vikram, with the inexplicably weird hair, meets someone new. A waitress at a high-end restaurant, Nisha (Sara Loren) who is immediately smitten - we are not clear whether it is with Vikram himself or his glam and wealthy lifestyle. The two get close (song and steamy scenes) and all is well.
That's till Nisha notices some untoward occurrences in the house. There are ripples in the water of the bath-tub, the electricity seems to have a life of its own, and strange noises can be heard from the sink.
A remake of Spanish film The Hidden Face, Murder 3 marks the directorial debut of Mukesh Bhatt's son Vishesh. Tightly knit for the most time, the film loses pace intermittently.
Dark humour is not easy to execute, and here it flattens the tension a bit. Some scenes are well-executed, and the others fall flat. One reckons this could be Vishesh not being on very steady ground when it comes to the storytelling style. While at one end he yearns to break out of the Murder cliches, he's also over-cautious to not let go of the franchise's formula.
The film is engaging but does not have the bite of Murder and Murder 2. Still, it's an interesting and unusual story, with twists not just in the narrative but also displayed by the characters.
What's oddly interesting is that since Murder 2 tested the threshold level of the Indian audience with its grisly violence, Murder 3 refuses to go any darker despite the potential.
Compared to the first two instalments of the Murder franchise, this one is pretty tame. Interestingly, this franchise has chosen not to bind itself to any set 'type' of story: the first one directed by Anurag Basu (2004) explored adultery without making moral judgments.
Murder 2 directed by Mohit Suri (2011) was disturbingly violent and had a psychotic killer with a fetish for murdering women. Murder 3 is all about love, monogamy, suspicion and suspense.
Other than that Vishesh sticks to the Bhatt formula - love, sex aur dhoka set to lilting music by Pritam.
Randeep Hooda, who has proven himself over the years, gives a reasonably good performance. But he is partly handicapped by that weird fringe on his forehead and mediocre styling.
Aditi Rao Hydari impresses and brings in the odd nuances (with the humour in trying circumstances) of the character expertly. Sara Loren is pretty and fairly competent.
Worth a watch if you're in the mood for a decent suspense film - served Bhatt style!
Rating: 3 stars