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Review: 'Evil Eye' is a thriller buoyed by its cultural eccentricities

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Sunita Mani as Pallavi and Omar Maskati as Sandeep in EVIL EYE (Photo: Amazon Studios)

Evil Eye
3 out of 5 Stars
Director:
Elan Dassani, Rajeev Dassani
Writer: Madhuri Shekar
Starring: Sarita Choudhury, Sunita Mani, Bernard White
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Rated: Not Rated
Available on: Amazon Prime

SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) – Synopsis: A mother fears that her daughter’s new boyfriend is the reincarnation of a man who she had an abusive relationship with years before.

Review: Pallavi, a young woman living in New Orleans, is a subject of worry for Usha, her mother, who is living in India. When Pallavi meets Sandeep, a seemingly perfect man, Usha is filled with a sense of dread. The more she learns of Sandeep, the more she begins to believe that he is the reincarnation of a former boyfriend.

Reincarnation is a major aspect of Hinduism. A soul will go through life many times, retaining lessons learned in past lives and continue to grow in the current cycle. What if that soul is corrupted? Will it continue down that path?

Pallavi has adopted a Western lifestyle, but she remains connected to her childhood beliefs through frequent phone conversations with Usha. Being in a relationship with a man of Indian descent wasn’t Pallavi’s priority, but now that it has happened, she sees the opportunity to be the daughter her mother envisioned her to be. This makes Usha’s rejection of Sandeep more difficult to understand.

Pallavi knows nothing of her mother’s past traumas. We rarely have a complete picture of who are parents are. Learning of the abuse is an eye-opening experience for Pallavi. She doesn’t understand her mother’s fear, but knowing it is rooted in spiritual belief and past abuse makes her desire to ignore her mother’s warnings more heartbreaking.

I love the psychology of “Evil Eye,” and I enjoy that it is built upon cultural ideas that are foreign to me. That makes the film instantly more interesting to me. I enjoyed seeing Sunita Mani in Pallavi (she’s known for her comedic performances). Sarita Choudhury’s performance as Usha is a little unhinged, but that makes a lot of sense considering her mindset.

The third act is admittingly a bit wonky as Usha comes to America. Stories often have a difficult time finding resolution. The script could be ambiguous about if Sandeep is the reincarnation of Usha’s ex; but writer Madhuri Shekar makes a definitive choice. There are things that I would have done differently, but this is Shekar’s story. I’m just a tourist along for the ride.


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