Directors: Bhanu Pratap Singh
Producer: Karan Johar
What do you look for in a scary movie?
Writer-director Bhanu Pratap Singh answers that by piling on the tropes. Creaky doors, ghostly figures scaling walls, the mandatory doll that turns up and vanishes, jump scare sound effects and most of all, a mourning grey atmosphere.
While the packaging is right, the real test of a horror fest is the number of jump scares that startle you and force you to watch nervously through your fingers.
Unfortunately, that’s where this haunted ship runs aground as it doesn’t have you sitting on the edge of your seat. What’s a scary movie if you don’t scream a few times unashamedly?
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Fortunately, there is a story. Marine officer Prithvi needs closure from a devastating personal loss. He finds it eerily by going time and again into Sea Bird, a haunted ship that’s blown close to the seashore. Unravelling what happened on the ship a dozen years ago, facing the ghosts that haunt Sea Bird and risking his life to save a young girl help him battle his personal demons.
Scary films always have a mirror scene. They also have one character, either a priest or a professor whose forte is to take on spirits. Bhanu Pratap faithfully brings in both elements. Professor Joshi who helps Prithvi has a device in one hand and a prayer on his lips.
But scenes aboard the ship are so awfully repetitive that very soon the tension of watching a horror film eases. And by the time the second half trots to its climax, you get so used to the eeriness that it’s no longer scary.
Since the title clearly says Part 1, there’s something floating on the water that threatens to come up with a sequel.
Vicky Kaushal as Prithvi has such a pleasant presence that he makes it all watchable. But he’s unable to draw your sympathy for his devastating loss perhaps because it’s told sketchily in flashes.
Verdict: There hasn’t been an A-grade horror film in Hindi for quite a while. So horror movie addicts may want to visit the ship hoping for a few shivers.
Bhoot: The Haunted Ship gets a 2.5* rating.