Saturday, June 7, 2008

Haunted by apples

Darna Mana Hai: the movie that proves Bollywood can make cheesy low-budget horror movies, sans singing and dancing, that are just as dumb as their American counterparts. It was, however, popular enough to spawn a sequel, which also sounds familiar.

A group of callow students, letting off steam after their exams, go on a ... Road Trip! And guess what? Car trouble! Stranded, they argue, and eventually the majority of them go to check out a light in the jungle, which turns out to be a lantern hung by the door of an old ruin. They make a bonfire, and wile away the time by telling ghost stories. Periodically, people go back to the car, but they never come back, and the audience knows that's because there's a real killer lurking in the woods, picking them off one by one.

This is about as straightforward as a horror movie plot gets, which is not necessarily bad. Unfortunately, most of the anthology stories just aren't scary. The first episode, about another couple stranded in the woods, at least has some spooky ambience, and the story about the teacher who has a student turning in ghostly homework has an interesting premise -- kind of has a Japanese horror manga vibe.

But Saif Ali Khan is wasted in a Richard-Bachmanesque tale about a hotel with an extreme no-smoking policy, and then there's a story about evil apples. Not that I think that couldn't happen, but it's not at all clear how Shilpa Shetty sees those first few apples sitting there and intuits that an Invasion of the Body Snatchers in the Produce Department thing is going on...

So, yeah, this is a time-waster, and lacking the oddball twists of the Ramsey oeuvre. But it did include a trailer for Hawa, a horror remake of The Entity (of all things), starring Tabu (of all people). That doesn't really look good either, but it's certainly intriguing...

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