Vicky Kaushal, Bhumi Pednekar, Ashutosh Rana, Siddhant Kapoor, and Meher Vij
Bhanu Pratap Singh
The film starts with Vicky Kaushal (Prithvi), who works at a shipping company in Mumbai, distraught over the death of his wife and daughter a few years ago in a rafting accident. He contemplates whether or not to take the pills that help with his hallucinations. He would rather not take them and still see his family than move on. One day, a ship named Sea Bird lands on the seashore of Mumbai without any crew. The authorities task the shipping company Prithvi works to move the ship from the beach. But they are unable to do so without a high tide since the ship is too heavy, and this is when Prithvi is assigned the task to inspect the ship and look at what's wrong with it. And what follows after is the crux of Bhanu Pratap Singh's so-called horror thriller.
Bhanu Pratap Singh's directorial debut is everything but scary. The film does not have much to offer except a few jump scares. The screenplay is average and the writing is weak making it below average. The protagonist's backstory has been emphasized too much and is not convincing. He is a strong character grieving the loss of his family as he comes across the abandoned ship, Sea Bird. He mistakes the initial hauntings as hallucinations until he learns better.
After establishing the protagonist's back story, the film gets straight to the point. Vicky Kaushal stands out with a brilliant performance. Being a devastated soul, his character dives headfirst into the investigation, leaving no stone unturned to help as he couldn't help his own family. Still, he has given his best but it isn't enough to keep the screenplay from sinking.
Bhumi Pednekar does not get enough screen time in a blink and miss role but she looks the part convincingly. Even though Vicky Kaushal and Ashutosh Rana have given powerful performances, its not enough to compensate for a poorly written script. The pace of the film is slow and the second half is excruciatingly long to bear.
The background score of any horror movie plays a pivotal role in establishing its premise and whether or not the film will be effective. But Bhoot successfully fails at that too. It sounds ludicrous that our protagonist, who has been established as a strong and brave character, is afraid of a doll, a lullaby, and a few finger snaps. The lethargic VFX is evident and not up to the mark.
The camera movements are fast-paced during the action and running sequences and are difficult to keep up with. When the apparition appears onscreen, you feel amused instead of afraid. You know your horror film is a disaster when instead of making viewers terrified, you make them laugh. Movies of the horror genre take meticulous effort, which the debutante director obviously hasn't figured out yet.
All in all, Vicky Kaushal is the only good thing about the film. Bhoot is disappointing and offers nothing horror if you take away the jump scares. The makers could have used Ashutosh Rana's talent better as it was painful to watch him scare the ghost away with the age-old mantras. The film is produced by Karan Johar, who recently directed a segment of Netflix's Ghost Stories, another failure.