Evil Eye (2020) ☆☆1/2(2.5/4): Mother is quite worried…

“Evil Eye”, which was released on Amazon Prime a few weeks ago, works to some degree despite its preposterous story premise. During its first two acts, the movie builds its psychological tension well as focusing on the believable personal relationship between its two main characters, and I enjoyed this process while also caring about what may happen next between them, but then I was quite disappointed with its contrived last act, which made my eyes rolls more than once for good reasons.

In the beginning, we get to know a bit about a middle-aged Indian woman named Usha (Sarita Choudhury) and her daughter Pallavi (Sunita Mani). Shortly after Pallavi was born, Usha immigrated to US along with her husband and daughter, but now she and her husband are back in Delhi, India due to his new position, and Pallavi is living in New Orleans, Louisiana as looking for a chance for breakthrough as a writer. Like any caring but overprotecting mother, Usha often calls her daughter, and Pallavi does not mind having a conversation with her mother on the phone, though she is annoyed with how her mother has constantly pushed her toward marriage these days.

When her mother arranges another matchmaking meeting for her on one day, Pallavi is not so eager to say the least, but then something quite unexpected happens when she comes to a spot for her meeting. Although the man she is supposed to meet has not come yet, there is a guy who instantly draws her attention, and this guy also seems to be attracted to her once their eyes meet. After they subsequently approach to each other, their mutual attraction feels more palpable than before, and then Pallavi decides to leave along with him instead of waiting for her possible match.

At first, Usha is not so pleased to learn that her daughter did not meet that guy recommended by her, but she is sort of relieved to know that her daughter finally meets someone who may marry her someday, and, boy, her daughter’s boyfriend looks like an ideal match sent from heaven. Besides being kind and handsome, Sandeep (Omar Maskati) is from a wealthy and respectable Indian family, and, as his relationship with Pallavi becomes more serious day by day, he even provides her several expensive stuffs including sapphire earrings and a bigger residence where she can focus more on her writing without any worry on her finance. Pallavi naturally feels awkward about her rich boyfriend’s overwhelming generosity, but she accepts his offerings anyway, and it looks like they will soon head to engagement.

However, Usha comes to feel more uncomfortable about Sandeep, though she only contacts him on the phone. Although she is told that he is really a good match for her daughter in more than one aspect, there is a growing discomfort somewhere in her mind, and it tells her that her daughter should not marry Sandeep at any chance. While it is quite possible that Usha is simply not accustomed to the unexpected change in her daughter’s life, she cannot help but agitated more and more as her mind is taken back to a traumatic incident in the past again and again.

Later in the story, it is revealed that there was a very bad man in Usha’s life before she ran away from him and then married her husband. Although he died not long before her daughter was born, Usha comes to believe that he was reincarnated right after his death and Sandeep is that man in question, and she becomes more convinced as finding several suspicious things about Sandeep, who may be not so different from that man.

Now this sounds pretty outrageous to say the least, but the screenplay by Madhuri Shekar, which is based on Audible Original audio play of the same name, keeps, remains serious as before. As nobody around her believes her words, Usha desperately tries to persuade her daughter not to marry Sandeep, and Pallavi cannot help but become more frustrated and exasperated in addition to being flabbergasted by her mother’s sudden changed position. She still loves her mother, and Usha knows that well, but the gap between them grows more due to Usha’s accumulating suspicion toward Sandeep, who still looks like a nice dude to Pallavi even at that point.

Compared to what has been established well during the first two acts, the last act of the movie is a letdown because of several plot contrivances, but the solid performances from Sarita Choudhurry and Sunita Mani are still engaging to watch. Although they do not share the screen during most of the movie, their interactions on the phone are convincing enough for us to accept the emotional bond between their characters, which remains to feel as strong as before despite the weak ending.

“Evil Eye”, which is directed by Elan and Rajeev Dassani, is another product coming from the partnership between Amazon Studios and Blumhouse Productions. It is not boring at all thanks to its competent direction and good performance, but its flaws are too glaring to compensated by those enjoyable moments in the film, and I was left with dissatisfaction when it was over. Although I cannot wholly recommend it, it is not as bad as you might think, so I let you decide whether you will watch or not.

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