Dobaara: See your Evil is a movie about a murderous mirror. The story is exactly as ridiculous as that sounds. And I’m still wondering what the tag line means – see your evil as opposed to what? Ignore your evil? Embrace your evil? Or perhaps outrun your evil?
Of course not – that never happens in a horror film. The first rule of horror is that seemingly intelligent people will put themselves in the path of ghouls and monsters instead of running away when they have the opportunity. If they did the smart thing and just got out of there, you wouldn’t have a movie. Dobaara is no different.
So siblings Kabir and Natasha, played by real life siblings Huma Qureshi and Saqib Saleem, choose to go back to their childhood home in London where horrific things have happened to them. Kabir has just been released from a correctional facility after 11 years. But he doesn’t want to walk in Hyde Park or eat some scones. When Natasha summons him back to the family mansion, he shows up. Together they must kill the mirror. Or as Natasha tells her boyfriend: I’m also a normal girl. I also seek a family. Par usse marne ke baad.
Dobaara is filled with stilted dialogue like this. In one scene we are told, spirits apne aap ko manifest karne ke liye aas paas ki energy suck karlete hain. And in one, unintentionally funny scene, the father, who is now possessed by the haunted mirror, is telling this sexy apparition – I promise we will go and live together somewhere. The father is played by Adil Hussain who is an actor with such gravitas and dignity that he can usually rescue even the most banal roles. But here he is an sculptor lusting after many women – one of whom is a witch wearing plunging necklines and an accent. It’s high comedy.
This witch is the creation of writer-director Prawaal Raman. Dobaara is an official remake of the 2013 American horror film Oculus. Oculus was no The Shining but director Mike Flanagan managed to create an effectively creepy tale that benefitted from some slick cutting between the tragic events of the past and the present. Prawaal remains faithful to the original but he can’t resist adding this ghostly femme fatale and even a love angle for Kabir – he is romantically involved with his lawyer who wears tight midriff baring outfits to the correctional facility. In the original we weren’t told why the mirror did the things it did. Here Prawaal gives us a bogus backstory about witches in England.
The first half of this film mostly features the siblings squabbling with each other about what happened to them. Huma and Saqib are fine actors but the writing gives them little to work with. They are reduced to looking grim and delivering clunky dialogue. Their arguments are so tedious to watch that I was rooting for the mirror to put an end to it by killing one of them. Dobaara only gathers momentum in the second half. Prawaal switches between past and present and effectively builds suspense. There are a few good jolts but by then, it’s too little too late.
Dobaara is too silly to be scary.