Available On: Netflix
Duration: 144 minutes
Story: The film presents four segments, each consists of a horrifying tale directed by Zoya Akhtar, Anurag Kashyap, Dibakar Banerjee and Karan Johar. All stories are set in different time and places without a connection to each other. While some express the trauma of past experiences, others are a take on something completely new.
Review: Ghost Stories is said to express each directors viewpoint on life, but as an extremely literal and visual film, the short stories have a hard time expressing anything more than the characters. Four stories of the anthology are based in a different time and places, while Anurag Kashyap's is set in a bit older times, rest three are set in around 2019 and talk about incidents that could happen to anyone at any time. It is the one thing that adds to the negligible level of scary that the film is.
Starting with Janhvi Kapoor's story directed by Zoya Akhtar, we are introduced to a nurse who is dating a married man but is finding it hard to quit the toxic relationship. She meets her new patient suffering from numerous disease, living alone in a creepy house. Janhvi comes off as a more experienced actress, with almost no information on Samira and little material to work with, she still makes you root for her. While it is not scary, the short story does have a beautiful message.
Another directed by Anurag Kashyap is the story about a lady trying to conceive after suffering from a miscarriage. More then horror this one takes a turn towards a psychological thriller. This short story is the only one that made me want to look away, but not because it was scary. More so because it was hard to watch. Vulnerable characters having to deal with loss is not easy and Anurag takes full advantage of it in this film.
Dibakar Banerjee's directorial is the most bizarre one, in a good way. While the story is not scary again, it raises many questions about perspective and society. We meet a zombie-like vampire species that feeds on each other humans based on their hatred. But it takes a funny tone since it comes off as a knock off, of 'how to survive a zombie apocalypse' movie.
Karan Johar's segment is the most lavish, if half of its budget was used on other segments it would have been easier to accept the Dibakar Banerjee's story. In this one, we meet Mrunal Thakur as Ira, who is marrying into a family where everyone talks about the dead granny as if she is alive. The story takes a turn when she refuses to accept it and starts making changes. All the segments have a rudimentary script. Some feel rushed or have missed the essence of the story. There aren't any moments when you will feel sacred or feel the urgency for survival.
Overall the runtime of 144 minutes feels even longer due to the slow stories and relaxed presence of the ghosts, which weren't actually there, except in the last story. But that wasn't scary either. Cartoon Network's Courage The Cowardly Dog, has felt scarier than this.