NEW TO AMAZON! Evil Eye is the engrossing entry from the Dassani twins in the Welcome to the Blumhouse showcase of dark, original films. Pallavi (Sunita Mani) is a single woman in America. Her mother, Usha (Sarita Choudhury) in India, believes the man Pallavi has fallen for is the reincarnation of the ex-boyfriend who tried to murder Usha three decades ago. This movie brought me back to the great Ira Levin movies of the 1970s, like Stepford Wives, Rosemary’s Baby, and Boys from Brazil.
Evil Eye has a delicious slow boil that gets you wholly sewn up in the characters’ alarm bells over mundane developments until the epic payoff in the finale. In fact, several times during the movie, I imagined what the 70s paperback novelization of the film would look like, with the Flowers in the Attic-style 3D die cuts against a black background, opening up to pictures of book characters turning into skeletons and such.
It’s good to see Sunita Mani in a lead role now, as I enjoyed her arc on the show GLOW. Mani is identifiable and breathes life into her character that lesser actresses would portray as just a stereotype. She should be cast in a lot more leads. Sarita Choudhury also executes a master performance as Usha, really bringing forth the different ways PTSD can anchor into one’s perceptions and obsessions. Choudhury scared the hell out of me as the doomsday cult leader in Hulu’s The Path, and her work here made me want to sit down for Mississippi Masala and anything else she may come out with. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Bernard White as dear old dad Krishnan, who’s the mediator between Pallavi and Usha. He nails the role entirely.
“Pallavi…believes the man she has fallen for is the reincarnation of the ex-boyfriend who tried to murder Usha…”
A lot of the fun of Evil Eye is wondering whether Usha is right or wrong about Pallavi’s suitor, Sandeep (Omar Maskati), being the reincarnation of her bloodthirsty old boyfriend (Asad Durrani). You have to keep guessing whether we are in for a Rosemary’s Baby–style supernatural horror or a Repulsion-esque descent into madness due to trauma. Once again, the payoff on this is worth the time commitment. However, I would’ve skipped right over this title if it hadn’t been presented under the Blumhouse brand.
This brings up one of the best things about Welcome to the Blumhouse: the diversity in representation and production behind this anthology series. All the entries were made by minority or women directors, with the majority of the leads being female, and their stories favoring the female perspective over the male gaze. While this was partially achieved by producing these movies with Blumhouse’s famous micro-budgets, the films are well made with lots of production value. You are not continuously reminded of the budgetary restraints.
Evil Eye is another creepy entry into the Amazon series, boasting several performances that are absolutely spot-on. That one is not entirely sure the type of horror film. It only speaks to that strength. Give this film, and all of the Welcome to the Blumhouse for that matter, a watch as soon as possible.
"…the pay-off on this is worth the time commitment."