HIGH PRIESTESS REVIEW

HIGH PRIESTESS REVIEW

Amala Akkineni, a well-known actress in the south scene, plays a famous psychic and tarot reader, Swathi Reddi, who solves people's mysterious problems and has the ability to chit-chat with the dead... So yes! she is Telugu's Lorraine straight out of The Conjuring Movie. High Priestess is an eight-episode long web series, with every passing episode a different supernatural story unfolds. Most of these stories are narrated by Swathi to her college friend Vikram, who drops by one find day unexpectedly, and seems eager to catch up on stuff that's going on in Swathi's life. Appearing in the horror genre, this web series is hardly scary, the focus is more on bringing justice to the dead and how Swathi does it, also except for a couple of ghosts who are actually out for revenge, the rest seem pretty dejected and in need of help. Director Pushpa Ignatius gets the sets and to some extent even the locations right but lack of newness in any of the six stories makes Swathi Reddi's journey a bit boring and more or less predictable. The dubbing in Hindi is sometimes humorous and fails to maintain the thrill in an anyways half baked script. High Priestess starts with a ghost of a woman out for revenge from the man who killed her and her unborn child, but the mystery of who did it doesn't last for too long and on the lines of solving the case, everything seems to be working out rather conveniently for Swathi, ironically that doesn't work out well for the plot, as lack of suspense and the foreseeable climax does not keep you too invested in what is happening. Sub-plot two is about a married woman, looking to win back her cheating husband by regenerating her beauty. She gets a doll who can make her look younger in exchange for just three drops of blood. Things go well at first but as time passes the doll slowly takes matters in its hands and attempts to defeat the evil spirit within "papi gudiya" begins. Next is an advocate who is guilty of winning a case he knows he shouldn't have fought on a murderer's behalf, he also happens to kick a holy coconut in frustration, which then follows him everywhere, thus a string of paranormal beliefs explode. Can Swathi save him? and how does she do it? is what is the episode is all about. Moving on we have a child who encounters a washing machine in his new house, the machine is possessed by the spirit of another child who is killed in it in the past... this one is particularly engaging and some good performances are delivered. Sub-plot five is about frequent occurrences that happen at 12:15, few college friends meet with an accident while returning back from a picnic, although all of them survive, one of them keeps getting haunted at every 12:15 from then onwards. Swathi tries to find out the truth behind the accident and solve this unusual case. The last story is based on three childhood friends, the two boys fall in love with their girl best friend, but one of them will go through all odds to get her even if she does not feel the same way for him. Over two episodes the script pulls off a well-executed drama on love, betrayal, sacrifice and death. Towards the end of all these six stories, we finally come to know the real reason why Vikram comes to visit Swathi after so long and if he too has a story to share. All the performances are just above average and the subplots also are occasionally gripping, even Amala Akkineni in her digital debut appears rigid in her performance, Kishore Kumar as Vikram has very little to do. Having said that, the background music is on track and in complete sync with Sounderrajan's cinematography which successfully brings out thrills despite limitations. Overall High Priestess is not a complete disappointment if you ignore its occasional flaws. Rating 2.5/5 


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