When was the last time you watched a Hindi horror film in a theater and instead of making fun of the film you came out thinking, “That was something” well THE HOUSE NEXT DOOR is that one film which more or less succeeds in doing justice to the horror genre.
Directed by Milind Rau THE HOUSE NEXT DOOR tells a story of head -over- heels-in-love married couple Krishnakanth a.k.a Krish (Siddharth) and his wife Laxmi (Andrea Jeremiah). They reside in a picturesque locale of Himalaya. Everything is perfectly fine in their life until the D’Costa family moves into the house next door.
The D’Costa family comprises of Atul Kulkarni who plays Paul, the head of the family, who lives with his second wife Lizzie and two daughters Jenny (Anisha Victor) and Sarah. Jenny is Paul’s elder daughter from his first wife. After the death of her mother Jenny has been a rebellious kid who is unhappy with her life and specially the home where they are residing currently. She is a believer of God but has a strange love for everything gothic and loves reading horror genre.
Strange incidents happen once Jenny jumps into a well and Krish saves her from drowning. Later we are told that Jenny suffers from epilepsy post the death of her mother. Now though the storyline of the film follows the timeline of 2016 but it has a very deep connection with a tragic incident that unfolded in 1930s in the same house inhabited by D’Costa family.
Krish being a neuro-surgeon extends his help to the D’Costa family and together they try everything possible to cure Jenny whose test reports indicates that she is otherwise perfectly normal. Krish even takes help of his psychiatrist friend Dr. Prasad to look into Jenny’s case and then comes the point where the doctors approach a Pastor to do a mock exorcism of Jenny so that she stops making imaginary stories about their house being haunted.
In the film the pastor reveals that not every spirit is against god but the one living in D’Costa’s house is! When the Pastor and the doctor are unable to help, a tantrik makes his entry (now this is a weak point of this otherwise gripping film- why do we need all 3 of them in every single horror film that we make?)
The rest of the film follows the fight between the good and the evil spirit. And as for who comes triumph in this fight, you will have to watch the film.
Now, talking about the execution of this horror story, director Milind deserves a pat-on-his-back for treating the film exactly how a horror film should be and not lacing it with typical masala stuff to grab attention. The film has been co-written by Siddharth and Milind and I must say that unlike typical horror films that are made in Bollywood these days, the film’s storyline is way better and gripping. The climax of the film forms the crux of the story and comes as a complete shocker.
It’s not that the film is flawless, there are loopholes aplenty like the editing; it could have been crisper. Also there are plenty of instances where we feel that this film is inspired from films like THE EXORCISM OF EMILY ROSE or for that matter BHOOL BHULAIYAA. And most importantly its concluding message(which can’t be revealed here as that would amount to spoilers), I really wonder what was the need of concluding a horror film with such a message!
Coming to the acting department, Siddharth is the star of the film and Anisha as Jenny also impresses the most. But how we wished Andrea had more substantial part in the story-line rather than appearing on screen to just lock lips (are we selling this) with Siddharth.
The background score and the cinematography by Shreyaas Krishna deserve a special mention as it perfectly lifts the narrative and the scenic locales of the Himalayan valley stays with you even after the end credits. There are a few sequences in the film which will make your heart leap-into-your-mouth.
The makers end the story of the film at a point where we can clearly assume they have plans to make a sequel. And we hope that they learn from the mistakes they committed in this one, so that they come up with something crispier and more engrossing.
Would have rated this film 3.5 but I am going with 3 because of the loopholes. Last but not the least if horror as a genre entertains you the most then THE HOUSE NEXT DOOR is a film that you should watch and though not perfect it is definitely way better than what our Bollywood filmmakers have offered us in the recent past.
(P.S: If horror is the genre that stimulates your grey cell the most then watch this film but make sure you watch it in a cinema hall as films of this genre can be enjoyed the most only when watched on celluloid and not in your living rooms or smart phones.)