A seemingly perfect romance turns into a nightmare when a mother becomes convinced her daughter’s new boyfriend has a dark connection to her own past. Based on the audiobook by writer Madhuri Shekar, “Evil Eye” is directed by award-winning filmmakers Elan and Rajeev Dassani and co-produced by Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Jason Blum (“Get Out”).
In the tradition of the best horror filmmakers, the Dassanis crafted innovative ways to frighten viewers using sound and image. “What’s great about making a film like “Evil Eye” is that you can play around with the genre elements,” says Elan. “You can shoot scenes entirely in silhouette, or add creepy audio effects, or you can create stylized flashbacks and use disorienting jump cuts to help tell the story. It puts the audience in a strange headspace where they’re not entirely sure what’s really happening at key moments.”
Along with the supernatural elements, “Evil Eye” also depicts everyday horrors to chilling effect. “Perhaps the most frightening thing that happens in the film is one character manipulating another,” says Elan. “The villain in the movie uses emotional tactics like gaslighting to control those around him. To me, that’s much scarier than a ghost, or a stalker with a knife, because it happens in every city around the world. Right now there are people using insidious techniques to emotionally abuse women and keep them under their control. It could literally happen to you or someone you love.”
The filmmakers worked with experts in the field of emotional and physical trauma to ensure they treated the issue accurately. “Although our story takes place in a supernatural context, we wanted to comment on the cycle of violence that happens to women in the real world,” explains Rajeev. “So while preparing for the film we spoke to a number of people involved in helping abuse victims and assisting women who’ve gone through trauma.”
Sarita Choudhury, who plays the mother said this about the script: “You begin it and you think you’re in one movie … like a bright, cheery mother wants to get her daughter married. Then you move into what seems a little about psychology. Then when it turns … I remember thinking ‘I don’t know how to make this work’ where the audience will believe all this, and that’s what interested me”.
Sunita Mani, who plays Pallavi, said about her role: “The mother-daughter relationship really stuck out to me and the fact that it’s long-distance phone calls. And it kinds of feels like a play in a way, because you’re sort of staging conversation and it brings this sense of longing to the relationship and really expresses this cultural divide that I find familiar. It really spoke to me in a way that was so close to a version of myself that I had never encountered before in a script.”
Omar Maskati, who plays Sandeep in the film said about his character: “I was so unsure of whether or not it was going to…it felt like it would hinge a lot on how you felt about Sandeep. What you knew about him and what you understood, and so I just thought ‘that’s so interesting and that’s so cool’. To see a character and to not really know, is Usha (Sarita) losing it, or is it Sandeep? Is there something wrong with him? It just seemed like a really fun guessing game for the audience to get to play.”
Amazon Studios’ upcoming film “Evil Eye” is set to take audiences on a wild ride of twists and turns. Starring Sarita Choudhury, Sunita Mani, Omar Maskati, and Bernard White, the chilling, psychological thriller is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video now.
Not competent enough to sit idle and stare as the world goes by, Pallavi is optimistic to a fault and believes in building her world on her own rather than depending on others to make things right.