Sunday, January 18, 2015

Movie Review: Alone

When people generalize horror movies and ridicule the genre, Alone is precisely the sort of movie they're talking about. When there’s a query about films that are neither good nor unintentionally funny, Alone is the kind of movie that pops into people’s heads.

It's actually not very surprising that Alone is a breathtakingly terrible film. If you’ve been exposed to the works of director Bhushan Patel – 1940 Evil Returns and Ragini MMS 2 – you’d be the one to blame if you expect anything remotely watchable. And on that front the film meets your expectations:

a) It looks more like a Gladrags cover shoot featuring scantily clad Bipasha and Karan Singh Grover than a movie with a story.

b) The acting from both the stalwarts ranges from hilariously inept to humiliatingly abysmal.

c) The ‘horror’ jump scares are cringe inducingly unoriginal, and also so lame they make Stuart Little seem more frightening.

Although the credits mention the names of a large bunch of people who certainly worked hard on the project, the film feels like it was put together by a couple of kids throwing horror clichés and the wall and cheering at whatever sticks. Here we have a suburban couple Anjana (Bips) and Kabir (Grover) moving to the former’s Kerala home after her mother (Neena Gupta) is hospitalized. The house turns out to be, gasp, haunted by Sanjana, the formerly conjoined and now deceased twin sister of Anjana.

The film doesn’t waste any time in hurling a barrage of banal and stupid things that generally happen in horror films – the clichéd shot of shutting a mirror and discovering someone standing behind you, the clichéd shot of shutting a fridge and discovering someone standing behind it, the clichéd shot of a dog barking at someone who seems possessed, the clichéd shot of vedic tantric aghori mumbo jumbo exorcism, the clichéd shot of a swing creaking with no one on it, the clichéd shot of a child giggling in the dark.

The filmmakers also go the extra mile by lifting scares from famous short films – like Lights Out, where a ghost is seen every time a light switch is turned on and off. Even The Conjuring is given its Bollywood treatment, complete with a bedsheet over the head of the possessed lady tied to the bed.

The only unique thing about the movie is the ghost’s strange agenda – of getting into Kabir’s pants. That’s sort of the draw of the film – being a Sex + Horror = Horrex movie. The camera lingers a few times on Bipasha’s bare legs and Grover’s torso that seems to hide an automobile beneath the skin. Unfortunately tax forms are sexier than whatever you see in Alone.

When there’s no smoochie boochie or another romantic number shot in exotic locales, you get scene after scene of idiotic, unnecessary and cheap ‘walking in the dark’ sequences and household help speaking in the most ridiculous and over the top South Indian accents. In the midst of all this tomfoolery the film also proceeds to actually attempt a serious performance from Zakir Hussain as a psychologist filming an exorcism. A while after you fall asleep, the movie ends, and you then awaken in the theater to realize why the film is called Alone.

(First published in Hindustan Times)   

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