I See Dead People In Ladakh. And Red High Heeled Shoes.
A photographer who is never short of female company suddenly finds himself seeing a shadowy woman who appears and disappears from his home at will, scaring him because she can be seen on camera but not when you actually look. His friend and then doctor advise him to lay off the weed. But can he? Is what happens in the film a drug induced seduction by the ghostly woman or is it for real?
It’s a creepy video which shows photographer Vidyut (Kunal Roy Kapoor) getting off the bed and coming to the computer, watching the shadowy figure of the woman sitting on his bed and then swiftly leaving his house.
His confusion and fear reach out to the audience. And unlike other Indian horror films (which are mostly hilarious), this strange video, the actual woman are really scary. You want to say, ‘Look behind you!’ to Vidyut, even though he seems pretty misogynistic and a cad.
For an Indian film in the horror genre, to step away from the usual – haunted havelis, ghost revenge for murder, sudden noises of anklets echoing in a palace, crows that are harbingers of evil, sorcerers and black magic – and get into the realm of ‘is it hallucination, or is it real’ is quite good fun.
Of course they overdo it. The blingy red high heeled shoes that show up unannounced are not something to fear but the director assigns fear at their appearance and keeps showing them in the oddest of places and the sequence in the empty hotel corridor where the shoes come at you as if walking is hilarious not fear-inducing.
So Vidyut is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl posing for him in a strange yet peaceful place and decides he needs to find it. He finds himself driving on a lonely highway surrounded by beautiful mountains (Ladakh) even though he doesn’t know where this place is or how to get there. There are mysterious things happening around him…Navigation map suddenly appears on his phone, the Solar Eclipse, a tavern, a hotel… all creepy sequences in themselves, but we don’t know why. He meets passengers that have strange tales to tell but by now we are saying, ‘I see dead people!’
Because the writer-director chooses to show many people asking him for a lift on what was supposed to be a lonely highway, and each has a story of death, it gets tedious. You do start wondering about hallucinations and hope the story either kills him or the audience. The worst part of this deterioration is the hotel manager who speaks in such a ridiculous manner, you wish the red shoes would kill him instead of trying to scare the photographer. Hotel California, anyone?
The film rapidly descends from the really scary high into nonsensical mumbo jumbo about souls spouted by a priest. The film does get to you, the story begins as eerie and scary, the landscape of the lonely highway is beautiful and metaphorical, but the length of the film and the silly conclusion (‘Go into the light!’) leave you frustrated.
(this review appears on nowrunning dot com)