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Dybbuk, Slow-burn Horror Thriller





Mahi, a newly married woman, brings an antique Jewish box into her home. When Mahi and her husband Sam begin to have paranormal experiences, they soon learn that the box is a dybbuk containing an evil spirit. The couple then seeks the help of a rabbi to unravel its mystery. Will they survive this ordeal before their child is born?

Rating: ***

Dybbuk (2021)Review

….Or  Jew hona hota  hai wohi hota  hai….Dybbuk tries for some  surface variation in the horror convention. It is  set  in the Jewish community in Mauritius. The scenic island looks good whenever the camera finds time  to  look,and the  Jew characters converse in  Jewish. And yes, the talented Manav Kaul who recently showed his skills from behind the camera in  Tathagat, has an almost parallel  role to the film’s official leading man Emraan  Hashmi.

Hashmi  plays the deadpan  husband to  the pregnant Nikita Dutta. The unborn child, poor thing, is cursed by  a diabolic force trapped  in  a  Dybbuk box…Why not just   throw the fancy box in  the neighbour’s backyard and get  on  with the show?This is really  not  a film we are  supposed to make  head or tail of. Exploring   Jewish mythology with   very little  conviction (apart  from the  authentic language)  the tail spins a wishy-washy web of ancient mythology mixed with a vapid mumbo jumbo that is  as hard to believe as  it is to  digest.

The official remake  of  Ezra, the 2017 Malayalam hit, writer-director Jay K who  designed  the original  infuses  the remake with neither  the eerie nor the ominous aspects  that made Ezra such  a shiver giver .Sadly for a horror film there is in Dybbuk  not one  genuine scary moment  in  the  entire storytelling.

 Tragic in its own right is  the wastage  of such acting talent  as  Denzel Smith and Imaad Shah. The latter appears very late  in the narrative for a romance in  a flashback that  could have been fleshed out better.

On the plus side, Dybbuk has no songs barging into the  terror  time-zone. There is a   no-nonsense air about the narrative  inherited  from the original Malayalam film. Sujith Vasudev’s camera  moves stealthily through  the  chilling  air.

Fans   of  the  horror genre   are likely to be kicked  by  the  climax where Manav  Kaul and Emraan  Hashmi play a  confrontational  game  to the  bitter end. Be warned : a mean spirit stalks the  length and  breath  of this  sedate  thriller.  As  for  the  malicious  spirit,  nothing to worry about as long as the  friendly neighbourhood  exorcist  is around  .

Manav  Kaul’s Jewish  priest   act could have been the saving grace  of this fusion of  the mythology and occult.But  this once, he seems to have lost the  plot.

 Hai oh  Rabbi

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