Cast: Saqib Saleem, Huma Qureshi, Adil Hussain, Lisa Ray
Director: Prawaal Raman
Producers: Prawaal Raman, Ishan Saksena, Vikram Khakhar, Sunil Shah
Writer: Based on Oculus by Mike Flanagan, Prawaal Raman (Screenplay)
What's Yay: Adil Hussain, Using Flashback as a narrative tool
What's Nay: Sloppy first half, Lack of chills and thrills
Popcorn Refill: Interval
Iconic Moment: Huma taking a bite of a bulb thinking it to be an apple, Adil dancing wearing a mascharade.
Set in London, the film revolves around Natasha Merchant (Huma Qureshi) and her brother Kabir (Saqib Saleem) who has been recently released from a correctional facility.
Kabir was convicted for murdering his parents as a kid, but the siblings believe that it was all the doings of a 'haunted' mirror which their father Alex (Adil Hussain) had acquired from an antique shop, unaware that it's possessed by a Caucasian spirit named Ana (Madalina Bellariu Ion) who has some sinister plans in store for them.
Slowly Ana begins to seduce Alex and take control over his mind. With dialogues like 'Some stains take centuries to clean' and 'Human beings are capable of all evils', he is manipulated by her to commit a crime before he succumbs to a tragic end.
It's revenge time now and a grown-up Natasha is hell-bent on proving that the mirror was solely responsible for the tragedy that befell on her family. Initially, Kabir is a bit reluctant to join his sister in 'killing' the mirror but later gives in when he realizes that history is all set to repeat 'dobaara'.
Gone are the days when horror films meant haunted havelis and white sari clad aatmas. Prawaal Raman's latest outing steers clear of all these stereotypes and that's quite refreshing. He uses flashback as a narrative tool to induce the required chills and thrills.
His paranormal thriller is neatly rolled without resorting to unnecessary blood and gory. Instead, he relies solely on a mix of illusions and nightmares that the lead players see, each time they look into the haunted mirror to give you the chills.
But sadly, the film scores low on the shock value and suffers from a sloppy first half that's as slow as the snail. He takes his own sweet time to build up the plot but that only ends up making it exhausting for the audience. Those looking out for 'jump-scares' will be left disappointed!
Huma Qureshi fails to impress. She starts off her role well but ends up faltering as her dialogues begin to get repetitive. Nevertheless she does have her own shining moments in the film.
Saqib Saleem puts up an honest act but still remains underutilized in the film. Maybe another chance dobaara'?
Lisa Ray hams to the fullest. On the other hand, Madalina Bellariu Ion's accented Hindi scares you more than her role of an evil spirit! And yes, I am still trying to figure out Rhea Chakraborty's role in the film!
Finally coming to the man of the moment, Adil Hussain who stands tall amongst all in the cast. His transformation from a doting father to a violent man is quite disturbing and manages to send shivers down the spine.
Dobaara borrows heavily from the original template but ends up losing the essence to desify it. The sluggish pace plays a spoilsport as you find yourself restless in your seats waiting for something scary to pop up.
Anuj Dhawan's cinematography works fine and the film has an equally efficient editing. Overall, the flick has an interesting concept and misses out narrowly when it comes to execution.
The background score is jarring and the songs doesn't add much value to the film.
In a nutshell, 'Dobaara: See Your Evil' is a decent one-time watch solely for the concept! Further, if you ask 'Mirror mirror on the wall', is this film scariest of all?' The reply would be 'only a few scenes, that's all'!