Friday, January 22, 2021

Mrs Serial Killer: A review

Shirish Kunder directorial is defined by half-baked characters and clumsy storytelling, writes VINAYAK CHAKRAVORTY

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Review: Mrs Serial Killer (Netflix)

Starring: Jacqueline Fernandez, Manoj Bajpayee, Mohit Raina, Zayn Marie

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Directed by: Shirish Kunder

Rating: * (One star)

Some films are bad right from the first shot and, much against your sincerest hopes, things don’t get better. Shirish Kunder made one utterly unbearable film with Joker (2012) and he’s done it again with Mrs Serial Killer.

This Netflix film aims to be a psycho thriller. Kunder probably thought of making it because his only film of worth so far is Kriti (2016), a film in the thriller genre that garnered much applaud. In Mrs Serial Killer, he also brings back Manoj Bajpayee (who starred in Kriti) which is an absolutely wasted casting exercise – not even brilliant Bajpayee can save this incoherent mess.
Bajpayee is Mrityunjoy Mukherjee, a successful gynaecologist. A serial killer is on the prowl and the bodies of half a dozen pregnant girls have been found, each of them aborted and dismembered. Evidence points at Mrityunjoy (or Joy) who is being investigated by Inspector Imran Shahid (Mohit Raina), an ex-boyfriend of Joy’s wife Sona (Jacqueline Fernandez).
Sona decides her ex-boyfriend is victimising her husband because he is jealous. That’s when Joy’s lawyer (Darshan Jariwala) comes up with a bizarre plan: Sona must kill a young pregnant girl while Joy is still in jail, so that the cops believe his innocence.
If that brainwave sounds wacky, there’s more in store. For her own sake and the script’s runtime, Sona doesn’t even have to hunt around for her victim. Neighbourhood girl Anushka (Zayn Marie) is just what the narrative ordered.
It is clear where Kunder was coming from. He has obviously been inspired by too many Far East thrillers – those grizzly gems that have redefined the psycho movie over the years. While the gore factor is substantially lower in Mrs Serial Killer than typical Korean and Japanese psycho flicks, you don’t miss trademarks of the genre in its grungy camerawork and the moody background score. The film’s production design is also impressive. Yet, all the technical gloss is overshadowed by inept storytelling.
It doesn’t help that almost all actors are essaying half-baked roles. Jacqueline looks like she is either clueless about what she’s supposed to do with her title role, or simply too wooden to come up with the right expressions.
Newcomer Zayn Marie gets to impress with an action sequence, but then spends the rest of her footage as a captive tied to a bed. Manoj Bajpayee clearly signed the film for the last half hour or so, which is when he doesn’t let his fans down. Most of the others go through the motions of their roles mechanically.
From Ghost Stories to Drive and now this, Netflix’s filmmaking graph in India is going embarrassingly southwards. The OTT platform needs to reorganise strategy before they are rendered irrelevant.


READ ALSO:Review: Never Have I Ever

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