'Dybbuk' movie review: A treat for Emraan fans

'Dybbuk' movie review: Emraan Hashmi headlines a watchable horror-thriller

Like all remakes, 'Dybbuk' caters to those who haven't seen the original version

The official poster of 'Dybbuk'. Credit: IMDb

Cast: Emraan Hashmi, Nikita Dutta and Manav Kaul

Director: Jay K

Platform: Amazon Prime Video

Rating: 2.5/5

Actor Emraan Hashmi's latest movie Dybbuk is a watchable horror-thriller that caters to die-hard fans of the genre but does not reach its potential. The film revolves around the problems faced by a young couple because of an antique box, which houses a dark and tragic secret. The basic storyline isn't really something revolutionary or path-breaking but it has pretty much everything-- right from an exotic setting to thrills and spills-- that would expect from a typical Bollywood horror film. The premise, however, does make the desired impact as the execution is not as good as expected

Also Read | 'Dybbuk' preview: 5 reasons to watch Emraan Hashmi's new movie

The Raaz touch

Vikram Bhatt's Raaz, which hit the screens in 2002, is widely regarded as the film that redefined the tenets of the horror genre in Bollywood. The film, which was loosely based on the Hollywood film What Lies Beneath, emerged as a commercial success as the packaging was just about perfect. Dybbuk, a remake of the Malayalam hit Ezra, surprisingly has shades of Raaz as it is set not in India but in stunning Mauritius. Moreover, like Dino Morera and Bipasha Basu in the cult film, Emraan and Nikita Dutta play a couple that isn't going through a good phase in life. The film, however, still feels fresh as it relies on Jewish themes to spook the audience. 

The backstory hits the right notes

It is no secret that most horror films feature a flashback sequence that gives the viewer a closer look at the supernatural being's backstory. Dybbuk is no exception as the second half features sequences that explore the incidents responsible for the 'curse', which is an integral part of the narrative. These segments cater to those not familiar with Ezra and have come out better than the ones seen in the Karan Johar-backed Bhoot: The Haunted Ship.  The twist towards the end too works well as it comes out of nowhere but makes sense in the larger scheme of things. 

Not flawless

That said, Dybbuk is not without flaws. Contrary to perception, a horror drama needs a strong emotional core to succeed. The Malayalam movie The Priest, for instance, emerged as a commercial success despite its mundane plot as the track involving Manju Warrier added depth to the narrative. Similarly, Raaz appealed to the aam janta because of the reel dynamics between Dino and 'Bips'. Dybbuk falers on this front.  Moreover, Emraan's scenes with Nikita don't work mainly because there is zero chemistry between the two. The over-dependence on cliches such as flickering lights dilutes the experience. 

Emraan hits the right notes

Coming to the performances, Emraan--a veteran of the horror genre-- underplays things quite well in the initial portions and shines towards the end. The last 15-20 minutes are essentially a showreel for him. Manav Kaul is impressive in a role that comes across as an urban version of Ashutosh Rana's character in Raaz. Nikita fails to leave an impact despite her unmistakable sincerity. 

To sum up

Dybbuk features no songs, which makes it commercially less viable than the Raaz saga or even a film like Ek Thi Daayan. The terrific sound design, however, makes up for this shortcoming as it ups the spookiness of nearly each and every scene. The editing is quite good as the film does not drag at any point.  The other aspects are upto the mark. 


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