Stree review: A horror flick to make us giggle

Stree review: A horror flick to make us giggle

Film: Stree 

Language: Hindi (U/A)

Director: Amar Kaushik

Cast: Rajkummar Rao, Shraddha Kapoor, Pankaj Tripathi

Rating : 3.5/5

In the town of Chandeli, the ghost of a woman returns every year during the four days of pooja to prey on her favorite meal — scared, lustful men. She snatches their bodies and leaves their clothes behind.

Vicky plays a women's tailor who can take measurements just by looking at his customers. During the pooja, he meets a beautiful girl (Shraddha) who tells her she comes to the festival every year. She tells our tailor that she wants him to get her four things: raw mutton, beer, lizard's tail and a white cat's hair. So, obviously, he falls in love with her.

The comedy overpowers the horror and reigns supreme, so much so that it will put the non-horror fans at ease. Scenes start with humour, doubles up with horror and then slaps the comedy back on once again.

You may be reminded of the recent Golmaal film that mixed and matched the two genres, but don't worry, this is much smarter.

One brilliant scene involves Vicky's sex-ed talk with his father, whom he very fondly calls "deddy". You'd be pleased to listen to "deddy" talk: he calls masturbation "swayam seva".

Moving on. Thematically, the film taps into the power-play created by the subversion of established roles: the woman is the hunter and the lustful man is the hunted. The film indulges in the pleasure of seeing beefcakes crying for mum at anything rustling in the dark.

Gender roles are broken out of fear. Men start dressing up as women. One woman tells her husband: "I'll be back soon, shut the door"; he replies: "Come soon, I am scared."

Even as an epidemic of fear catches on, it is up to Vicky & Co to save the village. Rao is impressive as he always is, but Shraddha doesn't quite make the impact. Horror is one of those genres where the camera is given its field to play around, but the cinematography is Stree is no hoot.

The ghost, a veiled, floating rotting body leaves something to be wished for.

The film remind us of an old urban legend from Bangalore: 'Nale Ba' (come tomorrow). In the movie, as it had happened in the city, the townspeople, in order to ward off Stree, paint the words "O stree kal aao" (Woman, come tomorrow) in front of their houses. The movie even goes on to make fun of this when the Pankaj Tripathi's character says: "It's an educated ghost, it can read." 

However, the film overall is a riot. It makes us combine a squeal and a giggle. We need a word for that. Squiggle?

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