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Haunted 3D  : Comedy of horrors
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Friday, May 6, 2011
Vikram Bhatt
Mahaakshay Chakraborty, Tia Bajpai, Achint Kaur, Arif Zakaria, Mohan Kapoor, Sanjay Sharma, Krishna Bhatt
There’s only one thing new in Haunted 3D and that’s the 3D. The rest has more humour than horror.

The plot: After a fiasco like Jimmy, Mimoh aka Mahaakshay has totally reinvented himself. He plays Rehan, a young broker, who is poised to sell off a sprawling, eerie mansion called Glen Manor. Discovering that the vast house is possessed by ghoulish spirits trapped there for the past 80 years, Rehan decides to clear them out before he makes the sale. To do this he delves deep into its sinister history and even becomes a part of that time period to save his ladylove and set her spirit free. (Yes, by then he’s fallen for the mysterious beauty in a portrait in the mansion, whose ghost is haunting the place.) His hazardous journey while unraveling the gruesome past involves some treacherous time-travelling, till the happy ending makes you happy it ended.

The good: The story has been grippingly jotted down by Amin Hajee. It possesses the potential to astound at places, especially the part when the protagonist goes back in time to discover the mysteries of the house. It pretty much sets itself apart from the clichés we expect from a horror flick. Yes, it does have the customary horror tropes, like wind blowing eerily and curtains flying, doors that screech open, books that fall by themselves and decapitated heads, but what makes these startling and even scarier are the hard-hitting sound effects by Raju Rao which sometimes jerk you into spilling your popcorn. As it tries its darnedest to supply the requisite spills, chills and thrills, this flick does at times make legitimate attempts to break through the conventions of the genre. Unfortunately, for the most part, it doesn’t succeed.
Let’s get to the performances. The supporting cast is satisfactorily creepy, in particular the very talented Achint Kaur and the lusty professor played by Arif Zakaria. Both are totally in sync with their characters. The lead pair by contrast is average and they don’t really generate edge-of-the-seat fear. Tia Bajpai, making her debut with this challenging choice, does her best but has some tacky scenes too. The shots are skilfully taken by Praveen Bhatt, he captures some picturesque scenes and effectively depicts the spine-tingling moments. The 3D adds a touch of ‘value for money’. It’s novel to watch a horror flick in 3D.

The not-so-good: Sorry, but the dance sequence is a no-no, it dilutes whatever bloodcurdling effect this film may have created. The songs and romance turn this self-proclaimed ‘high standard Indian cinema’ into a typical formula film. The ‘add-ons’ have increased the length of the movie, which should have been reduced considerably to give that crisp edge and not make it look like a saga.
The direction is lame in a couple of places and certain scenes make you laugh instead of eliciting shudders. Logically there are loopholes, like when the spirit gets locked in a hotel room and can’t come out of the door, but is shown later breaking through several walls. There are moments when you feel the protagonists lack common sense, which of course is the director’s fault. The climax gets unbearably stretched and is extended for no fathomable reason.

Overall: Don’t go with sky-high expectation. Just go for the technically well-done 3D experience.
– Pooja Thakkar

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