Directed by: #TerrieSamundra
Kaali Khuhi is a Netflix original horror film which follows Shivangi (Riva Arora,) a 10 year old girl, who is put to the ultimate test to save her family's village from the restless ghosts of its horrific past. The spirits that crawl from the depths of the black well in the village’s field hold knotted ties with Shivangi’s family, leaving her to be the one to break a cruel tradition of bloodshed and torment.
The writing (screenplay and story by Terrie Samundra and David Walter Lech) does conclude to be quite weak in a sense. The story itself is absolutely incredible, there are many intricate details that make up the unfolding tale and the backstory to such a haunting atmosphere. From start to finish, suspense can be felt with every scene presented to the audience – however, an extensive suspense can only be perfected by giving the audience clear clues as to where the story is leading to. Viewers aren’t shown anything distinctly significant relating to the storyline until the film is nearing its ending. This eventually shows as a contribution to a good climax, but a film with a plot as comprehensive as this one would flow so much better if its pieces are slowly placed together at an extended pace, rather than quickly revealing the plot’s history before reaching the final, thrilling peak. A balance between suspense and satisfaction for viewers who are following the tale and mentally turning the pages of this horror is desirable; as it would be for any production.
Although the writing can be somewhat criticised, Kaali Khuhi is a great, visually pleasing experience overall. The cinematography (by Sejal Shah) is simply entrancing. It captivates the intense ambience of each scene with skill and, with beautiful, wide shots, the eyes of viewers are left to wonder around the screen to check for hidden figures that may be lurking in the dark. As this is a horror film, it seems out of place for me to describe the cinematography as ‘graceful’ but I truly mean it; the camera follows the story in its own stride instead of standing behind the pages and aiding them to turn. The two elements compliment each other in different ways, intertwining together to produce an immersive escapade.
The range of acting abilities held by the cast members adds to the vivid qualities of the film. A striking aspect that can be discovered in regards to the acting is the strong energy that surrounds the actors and how they represent their character’s personality – their emotions are so firmly settled into their approach to the character that every scream, cry and frantic act feels like a truthful reaction to the event that they are stuck in. That energy transfers to the audience immediately, passing a longing feeling of anxiety to claw at the pit of each viewing person’s stomach. In particular, I felt this power from Shabana Azmi’s approach to her role as Satya Maasi more than any other member of the cast. Her performance completely stunned me.
Kaali Khuhi is a thoroughly enjoyable film for those who seek tension and excitement in equal measure. All components of this film sync superbly together yet are unique in their own ways as well. I think it’s time now for you to delve into the black well and swim through the bodies of the past… are you prepared?