Written and directed by Patrick Graham, this miniseries comes packed with a little bit of every sub-genre of horror from thriller to slasher. It’s set in near dystopian future when sectarian violence has reached a crisis point, secret detention centers have been establish & a military clampdown is in effect. This is when a shining officer of NPS, a paramilitary force, Nida Rahim (Radhika Apte) gives in her father because she has doubts on his loyalty towards the country.
Father Shahnawaz Rahim (S.M. Zaheer) is a professor who believes that the patriotism in country is going out of hand, killing many innocents. Nida has the doubt that her father brainwashes people to do things which aren’t a part of their religion. For attempting this brave thing, Nida, even before the completion of her training, gets transferred to a covert detention facility handled by NPS. Colonel Sunil Dacunha (Manav Kaul) welcomes Nida to the team asking her to assisting in interrogating one of the most wanted criminals Ali Saeed (Mahesh Balraj).
Ghoul or Ghul, a zombie-fied demon which thrives on your guilt & uses it to destroy you. Without making a caricature, the makers decide to opt to go for minimal prosthetics with shadowy eyes for the demon. Any True Detective fans here? you surely will find some astute similarities between the both. Ghoul scores full marks in the thrilling department but falls a bit short in amassing scares and screams. Patrick Graham’s direction will keep you glued throughout but once you end the show you’ll feel to come out as empty-hearted. How much I wish Patrick should have made the most of the setup of dystopian future.
Let’s address the Elephant in the house (thank god! we don’t relate Elephant to any religion, in our country at least) – poking the nationalism. There are things that will disturb a certain section of people but for someone like me who never has any opinion about Religion or Politics – Ghoul has a pretty balanced narration. For a show maintaining the balance between terrorism & ghostly presence, Ghoul ends itself on a metaphoric climax. Recently, director Patrick Graham said that India still hasn’t found its voice when it comes to horror but with Ghoul I think we at least have started speaking.
Radhika Apte – the woman with many shades explore the most darkest one with Ghoul. She is terrific as Nida Rahim and expresses her emotions very well; be it of a bemused daughter or a draconian interrogating officer. Manav Kaul gets very limited scope to explore his talent. He is very good but the only problem with his performance is – it’s unidimensional. Ratnabali Bhattacharjee from the supporting cast impresses the most. She is effortlessly dreadful and not in a bad way.
Ghoul is backed by Blumhouse Productions, the makers of Insidious, and we can see how the shades of dark have been maintained to portray the sets. Jay Oza, the man who made the Indian version 24 look stylish & slick with his cinematography, excels in Ghoul too. The horror genre majorly depends on screenplay, cinematography and music – Ghoul tick marks every single of all the three boxes. Benedict Taylor & Naren Chandavarkar’s music and Niraj Gera’s sound serve their purpose of creating a spooky atmosphere.