Prawaal Raman’s official remake of the Mike Flanagan original, Oculus (2013) begins ploddingly. As in his previous outing, 404 , Raman tries to combine psychiatry with the paranormal. A youngster, Kabir, gets out after having served the sentence for killing his parents. The first half goes in the siblings’ clashing contrarian views on what had actually led to their parents’ death. The sister Natasha blames it on a possessed antique mirror, while Kabir himself tries to logically argue with the aid of science and psychiatry about how his father’s philandering led to the destruction of the family. What you get in the process is very few chills and thrills but a lot of convoluted, half baked, jargon-ridden arguments that don’t add up to anything but boredom.
- Director: Prawaal Raman
- Starring: Huma Qureshi, Saqib Saleem, Adil Hussain, Lisa Ray
- Storyline: A haunted mirror destroys a close knit family
It’s only in the second half, when Raman begins to play mind games with the audience, teasing and tantalising us between the real world and illusions that the film begins to hold some interest. He intercuts the past with the present, making you wonder who to trust and who to disbelieve, and in the process serves a few jolts and scares with flair.
Qureshi, as Natasha, and Saleem, as Kabir, (both otherwise very efficient actors) swing between being automated/impassive and hyper and over the top. As Tanya, Kabir’s psychiatrist girl friend, Rhea Chakraborty has nothing more on her plate than a glorified special appearance. It’s left to Adil Hussain then who catches the audience’s fancy as the possessed dad; with him around we have some reason to feel panic and anxiety at the film’s premise.