December moves along towards Christmas, and as always, your Favorite Catgirl is caught up in the busy “Real World” things that conspire to steal away all my time here at the ol’ Litterbox. Worry not though… I’m still catchin’ the occasional movie, like this time out’s Hindi horror goodie, “Help”. Another recent “Bollywood” ghost story, hopefully with all the necessary scares and chills to go along with the usual “song & dance” I’ve come to expect from our good friends in Mumbai.
Our synopsis goes like this: “Help” is a supernatural horror that draws upon the story of a malevolent spirit that refuses to leave the human world. The story concerns, Vic (Bobby Deol) who is a successful horror film director in Bollywood and is married to Pia (Mugdha Godse). Pia and Vic are having marital problems and in the midst of their troubled marriage, they have to rush Mauritus to visit Pia’s ailing father.
Little do they know that there’s something ancient and dark that remains still, hidden and silent in the old house where Pia grew up. As the darkness spreads, things start to get worse and the spirit tries to annihilate everything. Now Vic and Pia must race against time to find out the secret which will save their lives.”
Mmmmm…. Now Neko likes her ghosts, and lately India has been particularly good to me, so is it hard to guess I’d be excited to get yet another chance to sample the horrors of the Hindi movie scene? Nawww……
The poster and the Trailer looked good… but then the only certain way to find out is to actually watch it… or be lucky enough to have a friendly lil Catgirl like me around to tell ya all about it!!
This one starts out as a woman, Susan, slowly ascends the steps of a hospital… or as it turns out, an asylum. Her loving husband comes to see her… speaking to her through one of those security grills they have in place for safety reasons (You know the ones I’m talkin’ ’bout… the cells where they put the reeeaally crazy folk…). He tries to comfort her… tell her everything will be alright… but Susan is distracted by the mirror behind her, never paying much attention to her worried spouse. Finally, in some bizarre fit, she begs his forgiveness… tells him it’s the only way…. and then smashes the mirror to bits, before slicing her throat with one of the wickedly sharp shards. Ouch!! Roll those opening credits!!
After a freakishly disturbing opening credits montage of crazy images of blood, mad scribblings, and a lot of other pretty crazy stuff our film flashes to another woman. Driving alone along a weirdly lit stretch of deserted highway, frantically making a call… trying to warn somebody on the other end that “OMG!! He’s coming!!”… Moments later her car screeches to a halt at the sight of a single crumpled body on the lonely moonlit causeway ahead of her…. A body that turns out to be the very thing she’s scared of… a nameless dead thing that proceeds to scramble over to her and do just exactly what creepy undead things do best…… and then the end credits roll. Huh? What? Ummm? Ahhh? That can’t be it, can it?
Nope. Next thing you know, we’re in a darkened theater, where we find all this is just the climax of our hero Vic’s latest horror movie epic. It’s a big smash with the crowd… so you’d think our hero would be on the top of the world, right? Ummm? Not really. His pretty wife Pia is pissed at him….. seems she’s none too happy with the attention he’s getting for his success, especially the attention he’s been getting from his leading lady, Natasha. Hanky panky? Well… this is a Bollywood film… But Vic’s not that sort of guy. He really just wishes Pia would trust him… believe in him, and stop her baseless suspicions before it destroys their marriage. All it gets him is a big fight… but then the phone rings with news about Pia’s father. He’s had a heart attack, so all this has to go on hold while they rush off to Pia’s old family home on the island of Mauritus to be with him in his time of need.
Once there… things get really weird.. really fast. It seems that the suicidal woman from the beginning of the film, Susan, was Pia’s mother, who killed herself years earlier after the tragic accidental death of Pia’s little twin sister Dia in a pool drowning. Identical twin sister? Uh-oh… that’s gonna come to no good….. right? We get all the usual things… excellently done with loads of atmosphere.. hallucinogenic dreams, sightings of the dead little girl who starts haunting poor Pia, the whole occult magilla. Eventually you figure out that Dia wants her sister dead…. along with everybody and anybody who gets in her way while she’s doing her ghostly vengeance thing. This is where our film works the best… The ghost in our story here is no psychological quirk of hereditary insanity… no fraud committed by a husband trying to kill his wife… no freaking bullshit…. it’s the real deal. But… as with most Hindi film plots, it not exactly what it seems at first glance either….
Not long into the story, following the grisly (and graphically bloody) death of Pia’s beloved childhood pet dog, the ghost actually possesses her, all part of it’s plot to ultimately seek it’s terrible revenge upon Pia, who, it seems might even be the psychotic little girl who killed her own loving sister in the pool all those years before. GASP!! Say it ain’t so!!
Ummm? Well it ain’t….. Here your favorite Catgirl’s gotta give you her “Spoiler Warning” before getting any deeper into the plot. Wouldn’t want to mess up your chance to be surprised should you find yourself intrigued enough to give this one a try, now would we? Yep… you see, it’s not Dia who’s behind all this misery… it’s Pia’s other sister… the one she never even knew she had who hates everybody all so much. Identical Triplets? Yep… just like pesky ninjas, you never… ever…. see this sort of plot element coming till it’s too late do you?
Luckily… a nearby university on the island has a brilliant crippled parapsychologist and expert on demonic possession. Good thing too, ’cause Vic ends up need all the help he can get once Pia’s shapeshifting dead sister manages to kill off both her best friend and her dad. Oh… yes, and of course, it was her disguised as Pia who got caught on Video killing Dia that day in the pool all those years ago…. Her mom’s suicide? Yep… our nameless triplet caused that too. She’s one really nasty, pissed off begrudged spirit. All because her father had the doctors abort her to save her mother who would have died trying to give birth to her….
Given the circumstances of her death, our ghost shows up every time one of the women in the family gets pregnant…. Killing Dia when their mom got pregnant again…. and showing up again now that Pia herself is pregnant. At least that explains why she’s been giving poor Vic such a hard time since the movie started. Well, that and vomiting all the time….. So is Vic gonna save her and the baby? There’s one heck of an effects filled climax, so you can be certain he’s gonna give it one heck of a try.
Surprisingly… this isn’t at all a bad film. Neko really liked it, even with the traditionally goofy Hindi elements that make their requisite appearance right on cue. Singing and dancing? Yeah…. but not done too badly. Three songs, woven into the story at two points as montage moments without dancing to illustrate emotional feeling for Vic as he copes with the weirdness of it all, and one in the final credits with the whole singing and dancing goofyness that could be contained no longer, Hehehehe!! This lil’ Catgirl can live with that… Ahhh, and our runtime is under two hours too… about 1 hour 45 minutes or so. Nice. The effects are good and used well…. the story is a bit convoluted and melodramatic, but not ridiculously so. Even the standard bit, *ahem*, “lifted” from another film is here… this time the “ghostly fingers in the hair” bit in the shower right out of “The Grudge”. All in all though, it works fairly well, and has a very professional and polished look to it overall.
While certainly no classic, this one is worth a look if Asian ghosts and all the nastiness they get up to is your thing. I can easily give it 3 “Meows” out of 5, with a special purr for the cute little twin actresses who play Pia and Dia as girls…. just sooooo darn cute!!! The DVD is well done, like all Indian DVD’s for major films seem to be these days, being Region free and in NTSC anamorphic wide-screen format with those perfect English subtitles (even for song lyrics) that I’ve come to expect. Throw in a price-tag in the region of 10-12$ US and we’re talkin’ creepy movie fun here. Yep… India’s been reeeaaally nice to this lil’ Catgirl lately… can’t wait till the next time one of these sneaks out on DVD for me to pounce on!!
Trailer? You wanna see a Trailer?Are you kidding? Naturally your Favorite Catgirl’s got ya covered!