Movie Review – Dybbuk Throws A Pleasant Surprise, Pre-Climax Twist Is The Highlight

By Joginder Tuteja

An urban horror thriller with Jewish folklore as the core backdrop – Now that’s something new indeed for a Bollywood film. Though over the years Vikram Bhatt, and earlier Ram Gopal Varma, have put together quite a few horror films, Dybbuk is different when it comes to the core storyline and also the backdrop, which forms a very important part for the whole drama to work. Though time and again there are cliched stories been told and it’s the treatment that makes the whole difference, Dybbuk brings in some newness to these aspects as well, hence throwing a peasant surprise.

Not that the Jay K directed film begins with a bang. The first 15-20 minutes appear to be really long drawn. Yes, the presence of a ‘bhatakti aatma’ is established right at the onset but then the start of the Emraan Hashmi and Nikita Dutta track is dull. Somehow, there isn’t much action happening and even though the supernatural element is brought to the fore earlier than one would have expected, the kind of tension that you expect is missing.

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It’s just when the regular horror tropes are introduced to the plot with several jump scare moments that Dybbuk starts coming in track. The coming together of atmospheric mood, four tree ay the sets, location, sound design, background score, edit and cinematography is what makes one start Dybbuk far more closely. This is where one has to credit the production design team for making the film look and feel really different from regular Bollywood horror movies.

The film sets interest well at the interval point and from here the second half turns out to be better than the first half. The horror quotient is upped and with the introduction of Manav Kaul, an exorcist, the backstory with Imaad Shah catches attention as well. The pre-climax is the best of the lot as you don’t quite see the twist coming and that has to be one of the better written portions amongst the recent horror films. The climax could have been more impactful though as the film was peaking well, and hence had Dybbuk concluded with a bang too, it would have left a much lasting impression.

Emraan Hashmi has done a number of horror films and he does well in Dybbuk as well. Not that it requires many histrionics but he plays the part effectively. Nikita Dutta is fine though and while she carries the deglam part well, it would have helped had she got a couple of truly meaty scenes. Manav Kaul is as usual and fits in well. Imaad Shah is decent in a cameo. 

All in all, Dybbuk turns out to be a satisfactory horror affair which does well to keep your attention on for those 100 odd minutes.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

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