It's been a while that I saw 'Hexing', a horror-drama, and, seriously, even after vexing my grey cells, my mind is still in a haze, amused and far from being bewitched.
Narrated in a non-linear mode, the film is set in 2017, Paris. It begins on a promising note, with a prospective young lady seeking internship at Madame Estelle's (Camille Solal) antique store. A Yantra board, which is an Indian equivalent of the ouija board, catches the young girl's attention at the store. And thence, Madame Estelle reveals the history of the board, as to how it landed there.
We are informed, the Yantra board is a "spirit board" that is used in séances as a conduit to reach out to the spirits. But here, this board has its own logic akin to King Arthur's sword. The board cannot be shifted by all and sundry. It choses its possessor and it displays its demonic side, when someone tries to harm the possessor of the board.
Soon, the narrative shifts to Kerry County, Ireland, in 2015, where we are introduced to Hannah and her story. This is followed by an equally sketchy origin-story of the Yantra board in 1920, India.
So technically, we have a triptych that is amateurishly mounted. The plot is relatively unpredictable, but it is the pace and the uneven tone of the tale that is spookier.
To begin with, the mode of the narrative is convoluted, with a lame story that unravels on a flat note. The bulk of the narrative covers Hannah's story and despite having all the trappings of its genre, is a huge letdown. The horror elements are mild, and just when you get into the groove of the horror genre, the film winds up leaving you craving for more substance.
The film floats, scene-after-scene, in a jarring and chaotic manner, where the narrative often stumbles into its own plot-holes. The exposition is verbose and bizarre. Yes, the writing is weak and lackadaisical, and the direction too is unenthusiastic.
But what holds your attention are the competent performances. Every actor is natural and delivers a credible performance. Topping the list is Emma Eliza Regan as Hannah, the young girl who is curious to know why her mother killed herself. Zeb Moore as Hannah's father, Dominique Swain as Hannah's lovelorn friend Alice, Adam Weafer as the Chef Joe who has a soft corner for Alice, and Nigel Mercier as the perennially mean restaurant owner where Hannah, Alice and Joe work, are also credible in their roles.
In spite of being made on a low budget, the film boasts of moderate production values. The frames are rich in texture and the look and feel appears to be of high quality.
Overall, considering it is a Halloween weekend release, the film lacks the fear quotient. [By Troy Ribeiro]