HomeMovies'Evil Eye' Review: Strong Performances, Dull Execution

‘Evil Eye’ Review: Strong Performances, Dull Execution

Omar Maskati as Sandeep and Sunita Mani as Pallavi in EVIL EYE
Photo Credit: Alfonso Bresciani / Amazon Studios

The latest entry in the ongoing alliance between Amazon and Blumhouse, Evil Eye, is an Indian-American horror thriller that dishes out good performances and strong themes of the lasting effects of abuse, but lacks strong horror elements and energized thrills.

Based on an Audible Original play of the same name by Madhuri Shekar, the film follows an Indian mother named Usha (Sarita Choudhary) as she hopes that her daughter Pallavi (Sunita Mani) will find a man to marry in America. Although all of Usha’s attempts to arrange dates for Pallavi have ended in failure, there’s new hope in Pallavi’s most recent relationship with a man named Sandeep (Omar Maskati). However, as Pallavi’s new relationship begins to be reminded her of an abusive and traumatic relationship she experienced as a young woman, Usha questions if Sandeep is somehow connected to a man from her past.

Evil Eye shines brightest in its darkest places in how it displays how abuse lingers in both the abused and those around them. Choudhary makes the resurging PTSD and hurt expressed in Usha getting migraines and flashbacks to an incredibly horrific time in her life connect to Pallavi’s new relationship. Her worries, both as someone who’s been in an abusive relationship and cares for her daughter are very easy to understand and empathize with. Admittedly, her jump to something more supernatural when piecing together Sandeep’s connection to her past is a little jarring. However, the way her superstitious behavior and inquisitiveness are built up make the film’s big transition, in terms of what’s actually happening with Sandeep, a little bit better. Usha is really a combination of a mother trying to keep her daughter safe and a woman trying to juggle her traumatic past slamming into her present and Choudhary really holds everything together well.

The film also explores how abuse can affect people’s views of those around them and carry through generations. From how Sandeep subtly keeps Pallavi under his control by stripping away her independence to how much her mother’s desire for her to find a husband has influenced her, the film makes it easy to see how abuse can move through generations and create strained dynamics—especially when these feelings are held in. Although Usha and Pallavi talk on the phone all the time, they never really talk about their feelings and it causes a lot of mistrust and miscommunicatio. Thus, Usha tends to disregard Pallavi’s feelings and Pallavi and other family members tend to view Usha’s as a mental breakdown.

Now, while this film does display some strong themes and performances, the overall experience of Evil Eye can’t muster up the same kind of strength because it’s just a dull thriller. The film feels incredibly slow, as there are no big moments that surprise you or reinvigorate your interest in what’s happening. It just hits this one thread and never rocks the boat that hard. Even when it decides to try to pull the rug out from under you by establishing what Sandeep’s connection is to Usha’s past, the tug is incredibly weak and unsurprising. Sandeep’s connection is teased so early on and is never seriously questioned or challenged to be something else that it makes a lot of his suspicious behavior ineffective in creating thrilling moments. Even the ending isn’t all that exciting or empowering, since it just hits expected beats and just doesn’t leave a lasting impression. Honestly, Evil Eye is one of Blumhouse’s tamer, unambitious, and more boring recent films.

There are even some elements of Indian superstition that are injected into the film that just fall flat. The whole concept of the “Evil Eye” feels unexplained and never plays a strong enough purpose in the plot. The film highlights the eye-shaped charms that Usha and Pallavi wear to ward off the Evil Eye, but it just seems like another word for bad luck, so the film is just hyping it up to be something bigger than it actually is. Even Usha’s superstitious behavior doesn’t go anywhere special, other than a matchmaker, and it just adds to the disappointing dull atmosphere, or lack thereof, of the film.

Evil Eye shows its potential in its story of abuse and the solid performances, mainly from Choudhary, to be something impactful but doesn’t have thrills or compelling moments that are constantly drawing you back in to be a worthy watch.

Evil Eye is now streaming on Amazon Prime.

Tom Moore
Tom Moorehttps://mooreviews.com/
Tom is always ready to see and review everything horrifying and hilarious that hits theaters, television, and video games...sometimes. You can check out his other reviews and articles on his blog, Mooreviews.

Most Recent

Stay Connected