Evil Eye (2020) Review – Surreal Net Catches an Existent Fish


Evil Eye is not your regular horror flick. It serves a bigger idea. A notion that needs to be nurtured and instilled into the repressive mentality of the majority. A mentality that is not only flawed but could be the sole reason behind the females feeling unsafe. A dark truth which prevails in most of the cultures, where the victim is often presumed to be a coparcener in the crime.

Evil Eye elucidates the horrors of being a woman. The film is produced by Jason Blum and Priyanka Chopra, under their banners of Blumhouse productions and Purple Pebble productions. It is directed by the brother duo of Elan and Rajeev Dassani. The film is adapted from the audio play of Madhuri Shekhar.

The Premise

It is an excitingly original premise, where a superstitious mother named Usha Kharti wants to marry her daughter to the right guy. Her definition of the right guy depends upon a lot of aspects. Apart from the normal requirements like the guy being of Indian descent and doing good for himself, she wants the horoscope of the guy to be just about right. She studies the horoscopes, the stars, the history of every individual with great caution and then only sets up a meetup with her daughter, Pallavi. All this skepticism stems from some past incidents that have had a deep impact on Usha’s life. Usha has a gut feeling that life in it’s mysterious ways will cast an evil eye once again on her family and this time Pallavi would have to bear the horrors.

Pallavi meets a guy named Sandeep Patel, who belongs to a wealthy family.  Everything about the guy seems perfect but Usha has her doubts about him. She feels as if there is a very strong link between Sandeep and her past. This intuition drives her to an extent, where the family and friends start getting worried about her state. They advise her to take medical help. Fear and anxiety commingled together can create a lethal mixture. Fear of failing one’s own kin makes you do things which you yourself didn’t know that you were capable of. Usha, knowing very well the perception that people hold for her, treds on a hazardous road alone.

A Blend of Two Worlds

The screenplay takes you on a journey of exploring different sensibilities, originating from different cultures. When the mother and daughter have a conversation you can see two cultures colliding. There is always a rationale behind the kind of lifestyle people prefer in a particular country.That rationale comes from the country’s own history, its traditions and a way of life unique to it. The gap between those rationales often creates disagreement between the mother and daughter. The conversations are very well articulated and it brings the ideologies of the characters to light. The writing is mature enough to not dwell into stereotypes of the Indian society. There might be a few performances that display a crude caricature of individuals in Indian society, but nothing so major that it hampers with the overall spirit of the film. The screenplay grows and evolves as the film progresses until it unwraps you completely.

New Found Dimension

Horror as a genre always lacked a certain amount of depth. It was more inclined towards entertainment than catering to something deeper. There was little or no character development. It was never considered to be a part of serious film making. In the past few years with the OTT platforms opening new avenues for fresh ideas, a different dimension has been added to this genre. Horror never seemed so real. It feels like it can happen with you. It’s not just a surreal imaginative discourse that scares you in the middle of the night. It’s not about the jumps and scares. It originates from a place that is dark and violet, deep inside the convoluted mindset of human beings.

Evil Eye abrogates the culture that endorses domestic abuse and rapes. It makes a strong statement that blaming women for instigating rape and abuse against themselves should be stopped.

A Symbolic Approach

The use of surreal narratives acts as a metaphor to address the issues.  The narrative might seem a bit absurd at times but if you are able to surpass that you will be able to grasp the motives of the filmmakers.

The performers bring about a lot of believability even in the surreal and theoretically unreal moments. Specially Sunita Mani playing the character Pallavi and Sarita Choudhury playing Usha. Sunita has a charming on screen presence and portrays her character with intricate detailing.

Evil Eye has a swift tempo and wastes no time in insignificant pastures. The film together with many such films like Tumbbad and Black Swan marks the revival of this glib genre. It was about time that somebody addressed the issue and told the women living in this patriarchal world that it’s not their fault.

Evil Eye is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

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Sushrut Gopesh
Sushrut Gopesh
I came to Mumbai to bring characters to life. I like to dwell in the cinematic world and ponder over philosophical thoughts. I believe in the kind of cinema that not necessarily makes you laugh or cry but moves something inside you.

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