October 12, 2020
Evil Eye has the potential to do some good.
Adapted from Madhuri Shekar’s award-winning Audible play by the same name, Evil Eye follows the story of Usha (Sarita Choudhury), a superstitious mother, and her attempts to protect her daughter, Pallavi (Sunita Mani), from harm. Sure, that sounds like the basis of a Bollywood movie, but in this case, when Pallavi falls in love, there is no singing and dancing. Instead, Usha increasingly fears that Pallavi’s new boyfriend is the reincarnation of her ex-lover who attacked her 30 years ago. Cue the eerie music.
On paper, Evil Eye has a lot going for it. The all-South Asian cast is led by veteran talent Mississippi Masala’s Choudhury and rising star Mani, whom audiences may recognize from her scene-stealing role on Netflix’s GLOW. The film’s backers include big-name executive producers Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Jason Blum, whose producing credits include a lengthy list of horror titles such as Get Out, Us, Split, and the Paranormal Activity films. All the pieces are there, but somehow when this innovative audio play, originally told through a series of voicemails and phone calls, was translated to the screen, the story became all too predictable.
If you’ve seen the trailer for Evil Eye, you’ve basically seen the movie. It’s like a 1.5-hour-long fable to scare women into listening to their mothers. And yet, even with an ending that you can see coming from the opening scene, there is more to Amazon’s new thriller than meets the eye. Hear me out.