REVIEW: Based on a true incident, the film begins with a chilling scene. As the film proceeds, debutant writer-director Bhanu Pratap Singh begins to tease us with flashes of the incident that led to Sea-Bird becoming the dreaded haunted ship. He juxtaposes this with Prithvi’s poignant past. Solving Sea Bird’s mystery deaths gives Prithvi’s life a sense of purpose. Vicky Kaushal carries his character’s guilt and his newfound mission with utmost honesty. The actor manages to deliver consistently despite a repetitive screenplay that puts him in the exact same situation, many times over. Bhumi Pednekar as Prithvi’s wife puts in a brief special appearance, while Ashutosh Rana’s character is too casually written to be taken seriously. Rana plays the learned professor Joshi, who moves around with what looks like an old voltmeter to chase away the ghost. When that fails, he even ends up chanting mantras.
Generally, horror films have a few hallmarks to effectively scare its audience. These include well-timed jump scares, an alarming background score, believable computer graphics (CGI) and make-up (wherever required) that makes the characters look genuinely scary. ‘Bhoot Part One – The Haunted Ship’ manages to throw in a few terrifying moments while keeping the background score subtle. However, the CGI often gives away, but the cinematography is dark and consistently good. The make-up ends up making the characters look unintentionally funny, rather than scary.
While the film’s runtime is short, the pace seems exhausting because most of the scenes are concluded abruptly, leaving you waiting for the big reveal. However, the all-important backstory isn’t convincing enough to make your wait worth it. For a horror film, ‘Bhoot Part One The Haunted Ship’ falls short of sending chills down your spine. At best, it can give you a few spooks.