Star Cast: Vicky Kaushal, Akash Dhar, Ashutosh Rana, Bhumi Pednekar, Meher Vij.
Producer: Hiroo Yash Johar, Karan Johar, Approva Mehta, Shashank Khaitan.
Production Banner: Dharma Productions, Zee Studios.
Director: Bhanu Pratap Singh.
One may not be very fond of horror movies but certainly, know what their motives and features are ~ 'to serve you fear'. Horror movie genre is like drinking a strong black coffee. They are extremely dark, might cause rapid and irregular heartbeats, and they never want you to sleep ever again, not any sooner at least. Generally, People watch movies to experience and feel some emotions. In the case of horror movies, people desire to experience fear and tension. Our fast-moving life has become so dynamic that we do not have time for something challenging and uncommon. Hence, one can say that people watch horror to escape from their dull and boring reality. When it comes to this genre we often tend to lean towards Hollywood, as in Bollywood there are very few handfuls of filmmakers who make horror based movies (rather horror-based GOOD movies we must say). Talking about limited filmmakers under this genre, with 'Bhoot Part One: The Haunted Ship', The Filmmaker-Producer Karan Johar, who is widely known for his romantic, family drama flicks, has teamed up with the debutant writer-director, Bhanu Pratap Singh to enter into the cinematic horror world.
'Bhoot Part One: The Haunted Ship is claimed to be inspiringly based on real-life true events. The movie premise revolves around a gigantic ship (Seabird), an unmanned ship that washes ashore in a Mumbai beach. The surveying officer, Prithvi (Vicky Kushal), is assigned to research and scrutinize the mysterious ship. How Prithvi tries to investigate what happened on the ship while dealing with a spirit is the plot of the movie.
Talking about the direction and technicalities:
It's the directorial debut of Bhanu Pratap Singh, who is also the writer of the movie, within starting few minutes into the film, it really seemed to be an outstandingly chilling horror flick, which the writer-director continued to maintain throughout the first half but fails to carry it to the same level in the latter part of the film. The cinematography by Pushkar Singh is breathtaking. The way the haunted ship is captured, the low light dark nighty frame, the VFX, the camera handling, the wind angle shots the zoom shots, everything seemed of international level. Extremely stylistic and visually striking!! There are no songs in the movie but the background score is TERRifically amazing. It just lifts the scarry bar to an all another level. The cinematography and the background score are really nail-biting. It will force anyone to 'hide-behind-hands'. Both complemented the horror to be served with appetizing scares! The scares, pacing, sound design, and camera work can only be described as precise.
Talking about what didn't work in the movie, is the underwhelming second half.
The first half of the movie has a very fast-paced screenplay and a gripping story narrative which keeps the audiences intrigued about what's gonna happen next, what turn the story gonna take, how it's gonna evolve eventually. At beginning, the film really feels promising, but the more behind the plot the more strange. There are few narratives that seemed "forced" like the back story, the family drama of Prithvi's life is a setoff. In the later part of the movie, everything goes down the hill!! The screenplay, The script, The characterization of the actors, The scarry sequences turns predictive and falls totally flat!!
Talking about the performances
Vicky Kushal is hands down the highlighting 'One Man Army' of the film! It's his first movie in the horror genre and it clearly shows how of a versatile actor he is! Despite of weak script and the repetitive screenplay he easily manages to hold the interest of the audiences and adds to the 'scary shocking value' throughout the movie. After brilliant performances in movies like Masaan (2015), Sanju (2018), Raazi (2018), Uri: The Surgical Strike (2019) and now in Bhoot Part One: The Haunted Ship, we witness how as an actor he is growing with every film.
Bhumi Pednekar, the talented actress plays a cameo role of Prithvi's wife in the movie. The movie script hardly spares any screen time for her to showcase her acting skills but whatever the script's character demands, she delivers it beautifully. On the other hand, Akash Dhar, who plays the character of Riyaz, A friend and a colleague of Prithvi, despite of good screen share time, fails to impress with his acting performance. Ashutosh Rana, another powerful critically acclaimed actor, seems to have been wasted by the script! The Script characterization of his role simply does not do any justice to the talent and the caliber the actor possesses.
Only if the movie had a well-written script and the talents of the actors like Bhumi and Ashutosh would have not been wasted, the movie might have turned out to be an instant gem among the classic horror titles.
Overall, the cinematography is magnificent, the atmosphere is spooky, the background score is terrific. The leading man of the movie delivers a stunning performance, BUT! Unfortunately, the portending second half and the screenplay has too many flaws! Like it's said 'Whether it’s chocolates, cake or ice cream, dessert is often the most memorable part of the meal because it’s the last thing you remember eating', Similarly in movies, the climax is the most impactful part of the film because it's the last thing you see on screen before leaving the movie theatre.
Conclusively, it was a promising ship that was all set to sail for a horrifying terror ride, sink down in water at the end!!
Verdict: Do watch it for the chillingly terrifying first half and the outstanding performance of Vicky Kushal.
PS: During the post-credit scenes, the movie ends with a hint of an upcoming addition to the bhoot franchisee, hope they make a horrifyingly stronger comeback.