WHAT IT'S ABOUT:
Part of Amazon Studios and Blumhouse's Welcome to the Blumhouse series of thrillers, Evil Eye tells the story of a seemingly perfect romance that turns into a nightmare when a woman becomes convinced that her daughter's new boyfriend has a dark connection to her past.
WHAT WE THOUGHT:
As soon as I learnt Priyanka Chopra was an executive producer on this project, I knew I had to watch it. The fact the film has two strong female leads, and an all-South Asian cast was a definite bonus as well – I'm sure I don't have to explain the importance of female empowerment and representation in the film industry.
The film follows the story of Pallavi (Sunita Mani), a young, independent woman living in the US. With her thirties creeping up on her, Pallavi is pressured by her traditional mother Usha (Sarita Choudhury) to find herself a husband before it's too late.
Usha's obsession with the legend of the evil eye – a curse believed to be cast by a malicious glare resulting in injury and even death - is made apparent from the beginning. The concerned mother tries her best to keep her daughter safe, believing that a curse was placed upon her by an abusive ex when she was pregnant with Pallavi.
When love enters her daughter's life in the form of a striking gentleman - Sandeep (Omar Maskati) - red flags go off in Usha's head - could Sandeep be the reincarnation of her violent ex-boyfriend?
Evil Eye is a little bit of everything - romance, drama, and supernatural thriller. As the movie progresses, it switches between the three genres. While it has dark undertones throughout, I must admit, it didn't get my heart racing the way I hoped it would. I needed more - more suspense, more guessing, more "oh my goodness, what the hell?!" moments.
Yes, it was enough to keep me watching, but to get halfway through a thriller and still not have one scene that makes you gasp out loud is a little disappointing. Thankfully, that moment does eventually come around. You have a bit of waiting to do, and the suspense doesn't last very long, but the fact that I scrambled to charge my laptop when it threatened to die in the final minutes of the movie is an indicator that the wait might be worth it.
But there's more to this film; I realised this as I neared the end. It's not just the story of a curse, a nosey mother who's too involved in her daughter's love life, or an obsessive boyfriend who has villainy in his heart.
If you look past the fact that it was released during spooky season as part of a thriller series, then it's easy to pick up on another theme - gender-based violence.
The movie recounts Usha's history with her violent ex-boyfriend and the scars that remain - both physical and emotional. Her desire to protect her daughter stems from her own failed attempts at finding love.
This message is made clear toward the end. "Men like this will always be there, so you teach your daughter, and your daughter will teach her daughter that none of this is their fault. And you will face him together," Usha tells Pallavi.
So, while it does not rank very high on my list of must-see thrillers, I still think it's worth the watch. It carries a powerful message delivered by female leads and executive produced by Priyanka Chopra - need I say more?
WATCH THE TRAILER HERE: