Barot House Review – A spine-chilling crime thriller

Barot House Review – A spine-chilling crime thriller

With consistent, focused efforts at alternative storytelling, it looks like the digital medium in the country is finally coming of age. Barot House, a welcome addition to Zee5's content library, is a chillingly narrated, slick crime thriller that works more like a 'whodunit' than a tale of psychoanalysis. There's a concerted effort to take a peek into the mind of a killer, a psychopath who's behind a series of deaths in the whereabouts of the Barot House. That each of the protagonists in the film are no saints, have their shades of grey, lend it an edgy quality, keeping you hooked to the screens. In what's a dream directorial turn for actor Bugs Bhargava, the filmmaker wastes no time in commencing the proceedings with the mysterious death of Amit and Bhavana's child near a church. The body of the girl seemingly beaten to death leaves the Barot family shaken. Just as they appear to have recovered from the shock death, another child in the house is found dead near a staircase. As the investigation procedure commences, their neighbour Antony, the father Amit, his brother, and also the child's sibling Malhar are prime-suspects behind the murders. There are chilling backstories justifying their dark side and probable motive to kill the girls. The ultimate revelation comes slightly earlier than unexpected, but this is where the director springs a surprise. The film is jaw-dropping because of the ambiguity in the killer's motive. The guessing game never feels complete and you just can't read his mind or smell his intentions. He is a master at deception. And right when you think the film is nearing closure, a superb twist forces you to re-imagine the entire plot. The beauty of the narration is its effort to keep things minimalistic and not state the obvious. The tale explores the creepy side of a psychopath and most importantly informs that it may not be a result of their upbringing and can also be beyond the horizons of psychiatry. The elaboration of the killer's fascination for self-inflicted torture and his behaviour at the psychiatric ward brings tension and anxiety to the proceedings. The director makes you go through a gamut of emotions across the 92 minutes – vulnerability, love, fear, shock and helplessness in a trippy film that never steps a foot wrong. Right from the character establishment to them conquering their inner demons and the psychological dimension to a crime incident, all bases are covered quite neatly. Amit Sadh has truly found his niche in the digital space and after a terrific role in Breathe, this part as an insecure husband and a concerned father in Barot House says a lot about his assured screen-presence. Manjari Phadnis, an underrated actor who truly hasn't got her due in feature films, makes good use of her digital outing to assert her capabilities. The star of the show is still Aaryan Menghji, the gritty child-artist who dons an immensely complex role like a walk in the park. With his creepy glances, little dialogues and terrific reliance on visual gestures, histrionics, he is a young talent destined to make headlines. The cinematography and the music do their job – keeping the narrative sharp, tense, sustaining its fizz without losing sight of its aesthetics. The locations are kept to a bare minimum and yet the visual quality of the film is impressive despite its production limitations. Not all digital films need nudity, sex or violence to sell itself, Barot House does well to dispel such notions with its strong content – it's definitely a house that you shouldn't think twice about visiting and promises you one hell of a ride. Rating: 3.5/5


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