After an unfortunate incident Mahek (Radhika Apte) starts suffering from agoraphobia, the fear of places and situations that may cause pain or embarrass her. Initially her psychologist tries therapy, but due to repeated panic attacks; her boyfriend Shaan (Satyadeep Mishra) gets her a place of her own so that she can face her fears. Determined to beat it, Mahek starts on a positive note but soon begins to notice weird things in the house. Is she imagining it or something truly amiss with the place?
Watching a horror film that has no chudail, no exorcist, no graveyards and no ugly make-up is almost like a breath of fresh air. Finally some can scare people without using the quintessential paranormal props. Director Pawan Kripalani does a fine job of weaving the story of a woman who is overpowered by her phobia. The credit here truly goes to Radhika Apte. She makes you buy into her world of eerie laughter, black cats, a cut finger amidst ice cubes and the story of a dead woman who had lived in her house before and had mysteriously gone absconding. Her agony and her helplessness look palpable as she takes us through her disturbing world.
The film makes no pretenses. The point blank title gives away its plot. And yet, it is cleverly deceptive, leaving you in the lurch guessing what happens next. The macabre is built with beauty and makes you stare at every element suspiciously. From gloomy paintings to old diaries and a forsaken vintage ring, there is mystery in everything. The heavy background score and slow zooms are aptly used to build fear.
The only downside is that the writers fail to see the script till the end. In the second half, its flow gets restless. The chills are fewer and logic lapses are too many. Why would friends and family decide on keeping Mahek alone or why would anyone keep a knife next to her during therapy?
But these are minor glitches in this thrilling fare. In the end, Phobia is an unnerving movie that plays skillfully on the fear of the unknown.
Keep your eyes slitted, and be on your guard, because something wicked this way comes.
Cast: Radhika Apte, Satyadeep Mishra, Ankur Vikal, Yashaswini Dayama
Director: Pavan Kripalani