Horror has become Vikram Bhatt's synonym now (and it seems the filmmaker is in no mood to budge from it as of now). After giving spine-chilling, edgy films like RAAZ, 1920, SHAAPIT, etc in the past Vikram is once again back with his loved genre with HAUNTED - 3D. And with his latest outing he takes horror to the next level in Indian Cinema. For the first time in the history of bollywood we meet horror in 3D format.
Set in the misty mountains, the story of HAUNTED 3D revolves around the sprawling Glen Manor, a mansion with a secret past and a haunted present. Rehan (Mahaakshay aka Mimoh Chakraborty) visits Glen Manor to complete its sale, which his father had initiated through their broking firm. Once there, in no time he realizes about the mysterious occurrences in the manor. He sets out to find the ugly truth. As Rehan investigates and begins to unearth the bitter past of the house he discovers a painful 80-year old secret – the story of Meera (Tia Bajpai) and her 'sex maniac' piano professor Mr. Iyer (Arif Zakaria). Rehan strongly feels for it & wants to free innocent Meera's spirit from the clutches of the professor's evil spirit is what ensues.
Vikram Bhatt seems to be so much into the genre that he knows pretty well how and where to scare the living day lights out the perfect horror elements including using silence as a tool to evoke fear. He clearly aims to chill his gullible audience irrespective of the story.
A lot of portions in HAUNTED - 3D like the story set in a certain era, distorted faces, flying & hanging corpses, the technical aspects, etc has been picked from his earlier outings and blended with a time travel concept. Though HAUNTED - 3D has its share of cliches that collage any typical horror film it also has some novel things to talk about like not one but two spirits, no usual revenge story here (as we have been witnessing ever since), the time travel thing, etc. Ironical as it may sound but the potency of the film lies in the old horror formula and not the above mentioned novel endeavours.
The director doesn't waste time in laying the ground and right from the word go shoots up the scare-quotient. Infact it's those opening edge-of-the-seat sequences that are truly frightening and gives you a jerk. In the first half itself we are given away the cause behind the entire inexplicable happenings and the key to the problem. The second half just follows it. Though there are enough predictable moments, yet Vikram Bhatt holds it tight until the very climax. Talking about the climax then HAUNTED dwells in two endings and we don't want to divulge either.
If you're willing to put up with a few eerie scenes, you will also be rewarded with many laughs and get puzzled at many occasions. Like the time travel comes abruptly in the narrative and if you have missed 'that' one conversation one would be surprised that Rehan has travelled back in time .i.e. 80 years. But the question remains... how? Or for that matter the logic of going back in time and changing the course of events! In fact one is reminded of Harman Baweja starrer time travel flick LOVE STORY 2050. Vikram also parts few gyaan about the spirits like spirits can't read, are most powerful at 3am and weakest at 3pm, one must never take the name of the evil, which comes as a doze of laughter and relief in the otherwise wicked trap and dreadful on-goings. I am forced to mention about the bonding sequence between Meera and Rehan, including a '2011' dance sequence which seems to be put in solely to prove that the lead actor, Mahaakshay, can shake his booty looks silly and forcefully incorporated.
Raju Rao's background score is excellent and cannot go unnoticed and promises to jolt you out of our seats. Chirantan Bhatt's music is soothing and pleasing to ears, however the songs hamper the film's pace. In fact, had the film been a songless affair, could have earned a few brownie points there too. Overall the film paints a beautiful visual landscape.
On the acting front, Mahaakshay Chakraborty puts all his efforts to deliver his best and he does succeed (strictly) to an extent. He carries single wooden expression throughout the film and appears subdued at times. Newcomer Tia Bajpai is good enough in the horror scenes. Her shocking, horror-struck expressions also work but her performance becomes dull in the light and romantic scenes. Arif Zakaria as evil spirit of professor is fantastic in his role and scares to the core. He steals the show with his presence. Achint Kaur, who plays Meera's caretaker, has a considerable role in the second half and performs incredibly in her part (Check her out in the scene when she sticks out her (really long) tongue and licks Tia's cheeks). Sanjay Sharma, as the Sufi saint, is good. Mohan Kapoor as priest performs well. Prachi Shah looks wasted.
Well, if you don't find the IPL chilling and thrilling then get 'HAUNTED'