CAST: R Madhavan, Ajay Devgn, Jyothika Saravanan, Janki Bodiwala, Anngad Raaj.

DIRECTOR: Vikas Bahl

The unease and twitching provoked by “Shaitaan” stem not from its genuinely terrifying content or the authenticity of its horror. Instead, these reactions are elicited through a familiar template of psychological twists and suspenseful captivities that films of this ilk often exploit.

The movie, directed by Vikas Bahl, blends these elements with an excessive dose of supernatural themes, diluting its impact and rendering it somewhat hollow. The presence of an unwelcome visitor (R Madhavan) at a secluded farmhouse, with intentions obscured by dubious mystical practices, feels like a retread of dated narratives rather than a fresh horror proposition.

Shaitaan (2024) - Movie | Reviews, Cast & Release Date - BookMyShow

Madhavan’s character, who insinuates himself into the lives of a family under the guise of a mystic, attempts to control and manipulate, particularly targeting a young girl through tactics as old as cautionary tales against strangers. Despite Madhavan’s attempt to bring depth to this archetype with a mix of charm and menace, the film falls into repetitive territory, echoing the patterns of many previous thrillers and horror stories. This redundancy is further amplified by the movie’s reliance on graphic violence and unsettling portrayals of vulnerability, which, instead of enhancing the narrative, only serve to distract and discomfort the audience.

Moreover, the film’s approach to its female characters and its clumsy handling of sensitive themes like transphobia detract from its overall message and leave a taste of outdated perspectives. While the film attempts to unsettle with its horror elements, including well-timed jumpscares, the execution often lapses into cliché, diminishing the intended impact.

Ajay Devgn Shaitaan Movie Review 2024 - Tollywave

In terms of performance, Jyotika delivers a measured and compelling portrayal as the mother, and Ajay Devgn falls back on his established persona of the fiercely protective father, a role he has perfected over the years. R Madhavan, tasked with the complex role of the antagonist, navigates the fine line between menace and humor, although the script sometimes pushes him towards over-the-top expressions of villainy.

“Shaitaan” aspires to shock and disturb, leveraging a blend of hostage drama and supernatural horror, with R Madhavan’s performance standing out as a highlight. However, its reliance on formulaic elements and insufficient exploration of its more innovative ideas results in a film that struggles to leave a lasting impression. The movie’s predictable climax and drawn-out sequences, coupled with a misplaced self-awareness, further detract from its potential to engage and horrify. In a bid for caution against superstition, the film inadvertently calls for a more nuanced approach to storytelling, suggesting a missed opportunity to delve deeper into the horror genre.

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