Blumhouse Productions has made some of the best horror movies ever in the West. They have collaborated with India's most creative production house, Phantom Films, for the horror miniseries, Ghoul. Directed by Patrick Graham, the series will be available for streaming on Netflix from August 24. Certainly, with names like those, the stakes are high. I watched Ghoul and those were scary three hours. Here is my review of the three-episode long series.
What's it about
In a dystopian future, where intellectualism is a crime, Nida Rahim (Radhika Apte) is an interrogation officer at a remote army base. Her reporting heads are Dacunha (Manav Kaul) and Laxmi (Ratnabali Bhattacharjee). They all have 24 hours to break the fresh inmate Ali Saeed (Mahesh Balraj) and get all the possible intel from him. But Ali is not human. And its too late by the time they discover this, as he has already started using their darkest secrets against them. The story is based on the Arabic folklore of Ghoul.
I loved the fact that the web series is set in a dystopian future. The knowledge of it makes the atmosphere even eerier. Who wants to live in a world where carrying a book around might be a crime? The scary moments in Ghoul are so good that you will find yourself jumping off your seat. The scene in the trailer, where Radhika is approaching the Ghoul, is spine-chilling. I had to watch it through the gap of my fingers as I had my eyes covered with my hand.
As a fan of George Orwell's 1984 and John Carpenter's The Thing, I totally loved the similar atmosphere. Thankfully, at no point does Ghoul look like a rip off of these two classics. It carves its own path, with very subtle similarities to the two mentioned names.
Of course, the actors are in their top form. Radhika and Manav look convincing in the parts they are given. I would kill to see Ratnabali Bhattacharjee more often on screen. She is the best in the series.
I did not see the big reveal coming at the end. That was really smart of the writer.
While I loved the dystopian era shown in the series, I'd have loved it more if it brought more value to the plot. The story could have been set in the present and it would still work wonders.
Also, I feel we just don't get to see the Ghoul in its true form. Even in the final climactic appearance, the action takes place in dead darkness. Show me what I came for! Also, in case you don't know already, Ghoul was supposed to be a film. Only when Netflix came on board, did plans change to making it into a series. I think Ghoul would have worked better as a film. The series format makes it seem like the three episodes exist in three different genres - first in dystopian thriller, second in psychological horror, and third in an out-and-out horror.
What to do
Ghoul is a terrifyingly scary series. The first episode is a little tiresome to sit through, but if you do make it past that, it is a fun ride. The scary scenes will keep you at the edge of your seat. You might want to have company along while watching it. And also, it is perfect Netflix and Chill material. The elevated pulse helps.
3.0 out of 5
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