1920 Review— Routine Flick with Loads of Horror

The best place to watch a horror film is the single screen; all the yelling, anticipatory comments, and, (if you’re in Hyderabad you cannot watch a horror or thriller film without hearing the by-now-part-of-our-suspense-moment-culture) the laka-laka-laka yelling, only add to the horror film experience. To add to this if the film is high on content the experience will be too much to handle (remember Mantra ?). I heard that 1920 has the stuff to freak you out and finally I got to watch it at Senstation Insomnia with my Mrs. in the ultra luxurious soft couple sofa (Rs 35/- per ticket—unbeleivable isn’t it? you can’t find this rate anywhere in India). So with ultra-comfortable seating, a crowd in full-mood to let our their fear with screams….as 1920 rolls on…it is one heck of a scream!

* [SPOILERS AHEAD]

The film is set in 1920; yes, it is made out to be a period film. It looks like the film takes place in some foreign locale—a beautiful castle, green lawns, horse carriages. It is too English-like to beleive the film is taking place in Palampur. Anyways, the story is about a haveli possessed by a spirit that is killing anybody attempting to demolish it. Couple of architects have come, been terrorized and killed. Arjun (Rajneesh Duggal) and Lisa (Adah Sharma) have a love marriage after opposing Arjun’s traditional Hindu family and after Arjun even abondons his faith in Lord Hanuman. Arjun gets the job of redesigning the haveli to build a hotel. They more there, but all is not well from the day 1 as Lisa develops a sixth sense telling here that there is some spirit. But she continues to adjust as the job is important for Arjun.

But soon, things get out of hand with the spirit taking over Lisa completely. Then a miny debate over science versus religion ensues, but soon it is evident that religion and related rituals only can save her. In a flashback it is revealed that many years back the lady of the house Gayatri seduces a betrayer among the Indian freedom fighters only to keep him in the house till her father’s army comes to hang him in the house. As he dies, the guy declares that his soul shall not leave this house until and unless it takes Gayatri with him. It turns out that Gayatri’s death and Lisa’s birth was at the same time and day so now go do the math—Lisa is Gayatri in her next birth and our ghost-man wants to posses her and take her with him on the night of Amavasya. Yes, ultimately, Lisa is saved by Arjun as he takes back to his faith and recites the Hanuman chalisa into her ears by holding her tight (quite a violent climax scene).

Yes, the story and plot is routine—haunted house, flashback with love story, bhataktha hua aatma, etc. There is nothing different or special about the set-up and this is the drawback of the film. However, from the film has loads of horror sequences that can get you to huddle up and yell out in relief. The first half is a little slow with with a few suspense scenes, but from the pre-interval sequence till the end the film has plenty of horror scenes that get you to scream. Some the highlight scenes are:

1. the scene where the possessed-Lisa holds the doctor’s hand in the hospital and talks about his villiany past in a male voice—this scene is a total scream!

2. the climax scene where Lisa escapes and is running around the house and has to be caught to exorcise the spirit.

3. the scene where Arjun first discovers Lisa’s madness when she is missing from bed in the night and finds her eating a dead animal in the house and then runs wildly and falls in front of Gayatri’s painting.

4. the opening sequence where the architect is killed.

5. All the scenes where Lisa is possessed. Particularly, the one where she walks up and talk the pillar of the house in the climax while Arjun is rembering Lord Hanuman.

The lead actors dissapoint. Though their voices are good, their looks are artificial. In fact, Adah does a better job of acting while being possessed than otherwise. In fact, she is fantastic as the possessed one. The film is rated A and contains several situations of horror and peril and is not advisable for kids. If you a fan of the horror genre then don’t miss this one. However, if you are looking for a horror film that will become a classic and a cult film then you will be dissapointed.

Mr. Inkenti’s Movienomics Verdict: One Thumb Up. In terms of scream-factor, the film is high, but it is the lack of a different treatment, story, or interesting twists that disappoint the film.

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