How do you not laugh when the horror film you’re meant to be watching, unexpectedly turns into a comedy? Haunted, directed by Vikram Bhatt in 3D no less, is about a young man (played by Mimoh Chakraborty, now rechristened Mahaakshay) who comes to learn that the sprawling home he’s been put in charge of, has spirits running around inside for the last 80 years or so.
Turns out a horny piano teacher (played by Arif Zakaria) tried to get cozy with an unwilling female student (played by newcomer Tia Bajpai) who killed him in the process. Borrowing a page out of The Entity his spirit then proceeded to return and rape the girl repeatedly, till she killed herself a few days later. Decades on, the spirit of the teacher continues to rape the spirit of that girl in our hero’s home, which explains all that screaming and shrieking. Wait, there’s more: Our hero who by now has oddly fallen for this girl (or her spirit, more precisely!), makes a trip back into the past so he can change the poor girl’s destiny.
If you’re willing to overlook the consistently wooden performances and the ridiculous dialogue in this film, there is fun to be had here. Like that scene after our hero has gone back into the past, when he’s showing the young lady some cool dance moves and some nifty cell-phone tricks. There’s something endearing about characters so cheerfully dumb that they’d sit outside in the dark and amuse themselves when they know there’s a spirit out there hungry to rape one of them. I wanted to scream out aloud: “Woman, you’re about to get raped! And it’s not even like you don’t know it’s going to happen! Get inside!”
To be fair, Bhatt sets up an ominous mood and uses special effects impressively. There are some particularly well-executed scenes in which a dead caretaker character (played by Achint Kaur) wreaks much havoc like leaping out of a forest to attack the protagonists, and walking sideways down a tree to scare the living daylights out of them.
For the most part Bhatt exploits the 3D to make things jump out at you, and while it’s not as much as fun as the last Final Destination movie, there are moments that will make you leap in your seat.
I’m going with two out of five for director Vikram Bhatt’s Haunted. You’ll be laughing hard for hours after you’ve watched this film. Not what you expect from horror, is it?