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It wasn’t the beastly ghost that terrified in ‘Amavas’. What rattled me to the bone was the questionable casting choice behind Bhushan Patel’s horror film.

The lead players — Nargis Fakhri and Sachiin Joshi — have the collective chemistry and charisma of a dead log.

Watching them attempt to act as a loved up couple in London who go for a romantic weekend getaway to Karan’s (Joshi) summer home, a weary abandoned castle, is painful.

Fakhri plays the agnostic Ahana, who goads and giggles her way into Karan’s heart. Her boyfriend is like a sore bear who loses his cool at the sound of bells tolling and is convinced that someone’s watching him constantly. He has been, understandably, in therapy for years and his reluctance at returning to his childhood castle indicate that something untoward had happened within those stone walls.

The first half has a series of painfully awkward scenes including a dinner date outdoors that sees Fakhri act like an overgrown child. She’s dressed as a femme fatale and runs into the woods, telling him to catch her as she plays hide-and-seek.

Going by her boyfriend’s disgruntled face, he wasn’t amused. Neither were we.

The usual horror tropes like chairs rocking on their own, creaking doors and ghosts watching you as you sleep are all there. Does it startle you? No. Does it make you cackle? Yes.

‘Amavas’ is unintentionally funny, mostly because Fakhri and Joshi are unable to breathe life into a string of lifeless dialogues.

The movie has nothing new to offer in terms of a storyline. Bad acting, coupled with a flimsy plot makes this a wretched viewing experience. While the first half — where the mood is eerie and grim — tries your patience, the second half is relatively better.

The mystery behind Karan’s odd behaviour is unravelled in a painstakingly long manner. His gory past — including a murder cover-up — is dictating his present, we are told. None of it is particularly nail-biting or riveting, but somehow you are happy that things are moving along a bit.

Mona Singh as Karan’s psychiatrist fares relatively better. Perhaps, her acting skills salvage some ludicrous twists in her character. She claims her tattoo — a religious Hindi symbol of ‘Om’ engraved in her hands — will be a deterrent to evil forces. While the idea is laughable, Singh manages to add some gravitas with her on-screen conviction.

The special effects aren’t shabby, but they are tedious. Watching a ghost turn into a flesh-eating, blood-thirsty beast with crazy eyes gets boring after it’s repeated more than once.

At one point, Fakhri’s character Ahana frustratingly claims she doesn’t understand what’s going on in that castle anymore. Well, she’s not alone.

Film: ‘Amavas’
Director: Bhushan Patel
Cast: Sachiin Joshi, Nargis Fakhri and Mona Singh
Stars: 1.5 out of 5