“Kriya” review

When you meet a gorgeous girl at a nightclub and she invites you home, the last thing you expect is to be involved in dark magic involving a corpse. That’s just what happens in “Kriya” which made its world premiere at Fantasia Festival’s online edition.

Neel (Noble Luke) is a DJ who has been invited by the attractive Sitara (Navjot Randhawa) to her home after a night of dancing at the night club he works at. He thinks it could be a wild night, and he isn’t wrong. He has just walked into a weeping family, gathered around Sitara’s dying father. The night of rituals regarding his death get stranger by the hour as Neel asks himself what he’s even doing there. Little does he know that since the family has no sons, he has been lured to the house as a “replacement son” to complete the sinister ritual.

Writing and directing his first non-documentary feature film in 10 years, Sidharth Srinivasan plunges us into a dark, ritualistic family mourning the death of their household. The tone rapidly changes from erotic anticipation to stunningly sober for our main character, as soon as he walks into his new acquaintance’s house. The plot is intriguing and mysterious right from that point. Jim Williams’ score will make your stomach drop an inch or two, imposing a eerie mood, while the supernatural, raspy voice that often calls out to Neel will surely send shivers down your spine.

There are some flaws to “Kriya”, however. Our protagonist’s decision-making skills don’t seem be the keenest in regards to a woman he just met that same night. He seems to very moderately question his own safety and become 100% emotionally attached to Sitara, undoubtedly making you squint in disbelief or scratch your head, despite Noble Luke’s impressive performance. In addition to this, half of the film seems to revolve heavily on rituals; each of their steps and minor details, but perhaps putting too much emphasis on them and not enough on their effects.

There are even some minor errors in the filming and editing of the movie that may be a little annoying if you catch them. For instance, the dead man’s lips slightly quiver when his daughter opens his corpse’s mouth and they decided to keep this scene rather than reshoot it. Also, one man’s wounds are on the wrong side of his throat after he is bit and flesh is torn off.

“Kriya” is definitely a slow-burning tale, diving into rituals and mystery almost right from the start, yet forcing us to wait quite a while for the situation to actually deteriorate. With an interesting ending, though, and a titillating storyline, you should still give Srinivasan’s film a watch, meriting a score of 6/10.

Article written by SIMON ROTHER

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