Evil Eye Review – a horror thriller with a refreshing atmosphere

4/5
Domestic abuse, Stalking, Gaslighting, Drowning, Blood, Violence.

Evil Eye is the third instalment in the Welcome to The Blumhouse feature on Amazon Prime. Unlike the previous Blumhouse films I have reviewed, I definitely think this meets the horror potential we have come to love from Blumhouse. This definitely gave me vibes of The Invisible Man from earlier on in the year, with tension being built off the main character’s not being believed. And just like The Invisible Man, I really enjoyed the supernatural mystery and psychological horror that was present in Evil Eye.

Evil Eye starts off with a brutal attack on a pregnant woman, who is the mother, Usha, in this film. She is deeply traumatized by this encounter decades ago and believes that a curse has been put on her family, leaving her to believe in superstitious stories and objects. As the proud mother of Pallavi, who lives abroad in America, she is constantly trying to set her daughter up on blind dates to get her married, much to Pallavi’s displeasure.

None of her attempts thus far have met with success. However, Usha is overjoyed when she learns that Pallavi has met a nice and wealthy man, that at first seems to be improving her life, giving Pallavi the opportunity to focus on her passion of writing. That joy soon turns to fear and paranoia when she notices similarities between Pallavi’s new boyfriend and her deceased, and as we come to learn, sinister ex. With Pallavi becoming more and more entrenched with this new man, she tries to intervene but no one listens to her, believing she is suffering from an illness.

What I really enjoyed with Evil Eye, is that all the major characters are fully fleshed out, as well as likeable. For the mother, it would have been so easy to make her a nag in a familiar overprotective mother trope. But they avoid this pitfall as you can clearly see how much love she has for her daughter. Sarita Choudhury is impeccable in this role, being the standout in this film. Choudhury was magnetic to watch, expertly showing how profoundly an abusive past can haunt someone for decades to come.

There is a clear divide between the mother, who is still living in her home country and the modern daughter who is frustrated with the traditions of her culture. This added an interesting element to it, and brought in some Indian culture and folklore that I was not familiar with, giving it a refreshing vibe. This was further enhanced by the several phone calls in this movie, that surprisingly added increasingly tension and intensity as the story progressed. To be honest, it was sometimes easy to forget that the mother and daughter were on the opposite sides of the world, as the dialogue and emotional responses are so adept it feels as though they are in the same room.

Some people may be bored by this addition to the horror genre, as it does not have any of the jump scares. But I would argue that it would have seemed very out of place in this film as Evil Eye. This film is very much a slow burn, not the typical subject material for jump scares, relying successfully on a gradually increased sense of tension throughout. And I found that the slow burn did pay off with a climatic ending. While you have ways to suspect where the story might go, it still kept me guessing and in eager anticipation.

I definitely feel Evil Eye is a film that women possibly enjoy more than men, as it will resonate with a lot of women who are more likely to have been through the kinds of trauma involved in elements of the story. But unlike a lot of domestic violence based films, the women in this have agency. The immigrant familial clashes and issues that are connected to generational divide, provide an intriguing character drama, that is not often present in horror movies.

I thoroughly recommend Evil Eye, even though it is not the best out of all the Blumhouse films, it is high in quality, and is a great, tense, horror thriller with a refreshing atmosphere, blended with more familiar supernatural themes.

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