Horror films produced in Bollywood follow the same route. At least most of them. The aatma/spirit seeks revenge for the wrong done to him/her. The spirit breathes fire, spits venom, scares the daylights out of the wrong-doers and eliminates them one by one. But, in the final tally, the protagonist puts an end to the aatma’s atrocities. All’s well that ends well. HELP is no different. It follows the same rules, except that it has an interesting twist to offer, which, again, is sure to have its share of advocates and adversaries. Unfortunately, the screenplay, based on an interesting concept, gets repetitive at times and excruciatingly slow at places. Besides, the unspoken rule for horror films is that they ought to scare you at the right places, but barring a sequence or two, which do give you jhatkas, the film lacks in the scary quotient. Simply put, the chills are missing. Final word? Strictly okay! Vic [Bobby Deol] and Pia [Mugdha Godse] are going through a difficult time in their marriage and in the midst of these troubled times they have to rush to Mauritius to take care of Pia’s ailing father. On landing in Mauritius and going back to Pia’s old family home, Pia is confronted by her distant past. Little do they know that there’s something in this house. When Pia finds out that she is pregnant, this vicious spirit possesses Pia and starts killing people close to her. Now Vic must race against time to save his pregnant wife, who seems to be possessed by the spirit of her twin sister Dia, who died when they were both 5 years old. With the help of a parapsychologist, Aditya [Shreyas Talpade], Vic discovers the dark and terrifying truth behind Pia’s family history and breaks the curse that has been put on them. The very first sequence of HELP raises the bar and you expect the remainder to be as riveting or perhaps, more. But HELP is akin to a game of see-saw: Engaging and non-engaging at regular intervals. The writing, somehow, is not thoroughly convincing and at places, gives an impression of being a script of convenience. The writers [Deepak Pawar and Viddesh Malandkar] come up with really spooky situations at times, but switch over to the tried-and-tested situations to take the story forward. The finale is a letdown, since one can’t decipher how and why the spirit is scared of mirrors. Even the manner in which Shreyas Talpade is sidelined in the climax makes you feel dejected. Wasn’t he supposed to free the family from the spirit? So why shift the focus on Bobby? Director Rajeev Virani has shot a number of sequences very well. The execution of the subject is truly stylish. The writing vacillates between interesting and been-there-seen-that kind of situations consistently. The songs are okay. Cinematography [Dhimant Vyas] is eye-catching. Bobby pitches in a sincere performance. Mugdha shows marked improvement over her previous performances. Shreyas Talpade enacts his part well. Jyoti Dogra is efficient. The actor enacting the role of Mugdha’s father is adequate.
On the whole, HELP is at best an ordinary attempt.