hollywoodinsight.com Critic’s Rating: **
Movie Review: Ready for a night-walk on a chandni raat? In the same bangla, along the same dark corridors, winding stairways, and dimmed porch – night after night? Then walk into this door. But be forewarned … Darna zaroori nahin hai! Gettit? Okay, we understand that Ram Gopal Verma is ‘possessed’ with bhoot-pret (genre), but the problem with this paranormal story (where incidents unfold only between the couple’s bedtime and wake-up time) is that everything about it is just plain (in a para) – Normal!
So brave it, don’t fear it and read on. Tarun ( J.D. Chakravarthy) and Namrata ( Manisha Koirala) move into a sprawling bungalow with two kids, Taman (Kushank) and Nimmi ( Alayana Sharma), and Tarun’s sister, Pooja ( Madhu Shalini), the bravest of the lot, joins this bhoot bangla.
Soon, the cliches creep in, even before horror does – with creaky doors, a creakier swing, howling dogs, poonam-ki-raat (every night), a petrified man-servant (with his own share of gaon-ke-ghost stories), wind-chimes, ticking clocks, a scary blonde doll called Dolly (wow! original?), and ghostly artefacts (mostly an animal farm, with figurines of sparrows, bulls, monkeys, dogs and deer). And mind you, it’s all in 3D – up, close, and way too close. More on the story now. Soon after they move in, the 6-year-old Nimmi befriends the bhoot (visible only to her), talks and plays with her, all this while the parents believe it’s only a part of the child’s fantasy world.
Then objects move around, people move around (in super slow motion, mostly up and down the stairs), people scream. Night turns into day. Dogs bark. The bhoot hangs around (sometimes posing for hidden cameras). People scream more. And there it is … it’s time for climax.
In his trademark style, RGV places his camera where no man has gone before (we aren’t sure about bhoots) like fan blades, chandeliers, behind stupid-cupid statues, between the legs (of a table), and under a woman’s bed-sheet (no surprises, huh?). ‘Bhoot Returns’, but with no story to tell, until the last twenty minutes, when Ms. Bhoot finally comes out of the closet, and scares for a few seconds. In fact, this wannabe fear-fest is more like a rehash of Ramu’s ‘Vaastu Shastra’, and sadly a far, far stretch from the original ‘Bhoot’.
For those with a penchant for 3D films, RGV’s exploited the technology impressively in parts. Sandeep Chowta’s background music does nothing to heighten the fear psychosis, and we’re left with some high-pitched shrill sounds. ‘Manisha Returns’ too, but must we add, her screams will be far from ecstatic. With little scope to perform, she’s trapped between hyperventilating and screeching.
We did leave with one horrifying thought though – of this Bhoot returning (in a third instalment). Hellllppp!!!