Horror Story borrows heavily from films like The Ring and The Exorcist, says Paloma Sharma.
Horror Story, Vikram Bhatt's latest attempt in the genre, opens with a group of twenty-something friends cracking jokes about homosexuality and sexual assault.
Yes, that's scary, considering that these are the youth of the country. This partly explains why Horror Story was the chosen title.
The youngsters, after downing one too many shots, overhear the news of the mysterious death/suicide of a businessman from the now-abandoned (and rumoured to be haunted) Hotel Grandiose.
They ignore the warnings of a Mr Miyagi lookalike about the existence of said ghosts, and decide to go to Hotel Grandiose to "check it out".
No, really, that's the most logical thing to do because no one ever heard of thugs and drug addicts inhabiting abandoned buildings. Also, who cares if amounts to trespassing? It’s just a little, lonely, abandoned hotel after all.
As the youngsters venture further into the hotel, strange things begin to happen. While noise from the TV has a whisper hidden underneath its sound; one of the characters receives a phone call and lights keep going out.
When chased by the spirit, the characters spend a good five minutes running around, waving their torches like happy little campers before realising that it is all futile, and embarking on every young person's favourite sport -- the search for network.
I mean, sure, our generation isn't the brightest one ever but I'm pretty sure that a couple of guys trying to make their way out of a haunted hotel won't follow an unknown woman in a dark hotel corridor when she calls out to them.
It is difficult to understand why a single character always embarks on a heroic journey to find the way out, leaving the group behind with the simple instruction to "stay right here", knowing that the previous ones who did the same ended up in a not-so-nice place.
Furthermore, why is it more difficult for the rest of them to understand the above mentioned simple instruction? I, for one, blame consumerism, the "I want it all now" attitude and video games.
At one-and-a-half odd hours, the film is unusually long. The first half of the film drags as much as it possibly can, until you're afraid that you're trapped in a haunted theatre which just won't let you leave while the film goes on and on and on...
The second half offers some respite because the director has been kind enough to explain why the ghost refuses to leave the poor kids alone: aside from the fact that they're trespassing the ghosts' land, they touch things, move things, turn switches on and off and act in all kinds of disrespectful ways.
The ghost and its back story seem to be lifted from films like The Exorcist, The Uninvited and The Ring.
Meanwhile, thanks to the one-dimensional characters, not much sympathy is felt when the ghost keeps bumping them off one by one -- and if that's what it takes for the film to finally come to an end, I for one won't complain.
The background music consists of a child-like voice whispering Ring-A-Ring Of Roses, which is just about the scariest part of the film, and an assortment of sounds that were 'borrowed' from Vikram Bhatt-directed 1920. Other things that were similarly borrowed:
1. The climax
2. The storyline
3. The make-up for the ghost (which was probably borrowed from Dolly Bindra)
4. The special effects.
All in all, if you like being horrified at things such as lack of logic or Bollywood films 'paying tribute' to their Hollywood counterparts, Horror Story is for you.
Otherwise, run as fast as you can before Horror Story turns into Iss Raat Ki Subah Nahi.