The House Next Door movie review: Subtly spooky, serves the punch effectually

Directed By: U. Milind Rau
Produced By: Siddharth
Cast: Siddharth, Andrea Jeremiah
Duration: 2 hour 20 minutes
Bollywood Bubble Rating: 3.5/5

The year was 1934. Amid the picturesque scenic landscapes of North India, lived a Chinese family. Small, and unhappy. One morning as the sun spread glee all across, the mother was found dead, and her daughter, slaughtered. No one knew how death crept in. Through years, the mystery surfaced in secrecy…

Cut to 2016. Krish (Siddharth) and Lakshmi (Andrea Jeremiah), a young married couple, one day find a new family moving into the house next to theirs. The neighbouring affection unfolds, along with Jenny (Anisha Angelina Victor), the teenager member of the new family, quite crushing over a charming Krish. But the happiness lasts only till Jenny starts having frequent unexplained encounters with… umm… spirits?

Then, one night, she jumps into a wail, unable to resist a calling that comes from whom, who knows? So does Krish, to save her.  This leaves everyone in the family, especially her father Paul (Atul Kulkarni) perplexed. Jenny is saved, but we know the mystery has begun. Who is it that wants them to leave the house and why?

The whispers that can’t be decoded. The piano that plays on its own. The unknown who bangs on Jenny’s washroom’s door at wee hours of night. The quick shadows that pass by, throwing a chill down your spines. The eyes that follow your back, and the glares that you can feel. ‘The House Next Door’ is absolutely effective on your nerves.

The entire phase of addressing the mystery is equally powerful. Meanwhile, Lakshmi is pregnant and seeing her being chased by two spirits at once is a nail-biting feeling. Director Milind Rau has carried out sub-plots effectively, and sub-characters too.

Sitting through the film, we figured out what made this one stand out from run-of-the-mill Bollywood horror flicks. Gross half-melted corpse with one eye open. Uncheck. Hihihihahahaha… that sounds straight from my childhood favourite ‘Bumroh’ mobile phone. Uncheck. Live Akaashvani by the Ghost. Uncheck. In fact, forced horror. Uncheck.

On the contrary, well-filmed shots and well-knitted sequences make real impact here. Siddharth and Andrea certainly are good, albeit Anisha as the possessed girl steals the show. But! I also vouch the climax is something you didn’t see coming. Unforeseen, and powerful.

We also have to give a shout-out to the production designers for creating a completely and convincingly spooky environment here. We can do fine without a haveli and a Ramu Chacha, you see?

A slightly stretched second half might have a few takers. And oh, wait, did we also get hints of an open end?

‘The House Next Door’ could be a decent watch this weekend. Don’t say you’ve a weak heart. Why else do boyfriends exist?