wogma rating: Watch but no rush (?) - Disclaimer: Horror—having my gut knotted for 2+ hours—is not my idea of fun.

quick review:

This is some well-made horror. You relate, you clutch your heart, your tummy carries a vacuum. But, it certainly should have been crisper and the verbosity in the climax takes away from the impact.

Streaming Partner: Netflix

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Director: Vikas Bahl
Running time: 130 minutes
Genres: Horror
More Movie Info

If you have a pit in your stomach, if your intestines feel squeezed, if the hair at the back of your neck is raised, it is a good horror film, isn’t it? Yeah, in that sense then, Shaitaan is a good horror film. But at the risk of repeating myself, the genre itself is not appealing to me. Why would anyone want to put themselves through that physical experience is beyond me. Why do I watch it then? In the hope that I might like ‘this’ film despite my aversion to its genre.

And when the parents did the opposite of what I would do, I understood, I ‘got’ it. So, in that sense, the film is well-made.

Actually, the film does more than horrify me. It made me relate to the characters, especially the parents played by Jyotika and Ajay Devgn. More than once, I found myself thinking, “I would never leave my daughter.” Or “What would I do if this happened to my son?” And when the parents did the opposite of what I would do, I understood, I ‘got’ it. So, in that sense, the film is well-made.

Of course, an absolutely stunning performance by Janki Bodiwala. And while this must be a sleep-walk for Ajay Devgn and R Madhavan, Jyotika’s one-tone expression is as boring as it is understandable. Devgn does the fun, caring, worried father to the Tee. And Madhavan portrays the devil his character is meant to be. Jyotika holds the bewildered expression constant and well. And can I really blame her for that? There is enough cause for her to not know what else to do! So, in that sense too, the film is well-made.

And that too without too many of the usual horror tropes such as jump scares or the protagonists tripping on a solution. In fact, it swings a bit to the opposite side. The villain spares you the most horrific thing you can think of. And yet, manages to terrify you with what he is capable of.

But, then maybe because of the resolve to avoid all things typical to the genre, the film becomes a tad too simple. It doesn’t help that the pace slackens in the second half. After the initial set-up, except for one sequence, nothing new really happens for about a good hour of the film. Unless, the terror building up and the characters being more and more traumatised is considered new.

Yep, certainly I would have been more shaken up if the movie were crisper. Also, the climax is too verbose. More so because it is out of sync with the way the dialogue is treated in the rest of the film. Until the very end, the lines are minimalistic and normal, even boring at some points. But the climax goes heavy and all parent-this-parent-that, mother-this-mother-that, father-this-father that on us. And because it is against the grain of the film, it feels like it was an afterthought, a Hindi-film-entertainment need.

Hence it significantly reduces the impact created thus far. Coming to think of it, the impact begins from the first frame of the film and the opening credits. The latter is one of the classiest sequences I remember from the recent past. And when the intermission came, my contracted muscles and organs welcomed the release. But, as it so happens, it withers. Good for me, not-so-good for the film.

- meeta, a part of the audience

25 reviewers(?) - 6 yays 15 so-so 4 nays

Warning: clicking on "full review" will take you to an external website that could contain spoilers.

Thumbs up, by Subhash K Jha, Bolly Spice : ...Sudhakar Reddy Yakkanti’s camera prowls and pries into the family’s domesticity, as though it knows exactly what Madhavan’s Satanic character is thinking. Scary.... full review

Thumbs up, by Devesh Sharma, Filmfare : ...All-in-all, leaving aside the tantric angle, Shaitaan is a good psychological thriller with good performances all around. The film nosedives during its ending, which could have been executed better.... full review

Thumbs up, by Aashu Mishra, Filmi Beat : ...For me Shaitaan has every element that makes it an entertaining watch, the movie is a perfect family entertainer that you can't miss to watch on big screens.... full review

Thumbs up, by Sameer Ahire, Movie Talkies : ...Overall, Shaitaan is an honest remake, with some of its own elements working in the favour of typical Hindi cinema audiences. If not that, Ajay and Maddy’s face-off is worth your money any day.... full review

Thumbs up, by Rishil Jogani, Pinkvilla : ...Shaitaan is one solid supernatural-thriller that Hindi film audiences have long been searching. It reminds you of Drishyam for all the right reasons. Go book your tickets for Shaitaan, now.... full review

Thumbs up, by Dhaval Roy, Times of India : ...Even though Shaitaan’s narrative stumbles at times, the masterful use of atmosphere and top-notch acting elevate it into an unsettling experience worth having.... full review

So-So, by Shivani Pawaskar, Bollywood Life : ...Shaitaan is engaging in bits and pieces. It builds up to a climax but falls short of delivering the supernatural thriller that will haunt you or at the very least, make you think twice before turning off the lights at night. But make you wary of strangers, it sure will.... full review

So-So, by Abhimanyu Mathur, DNA : ...Shaitaan is saved by its short runtime and the performances, which keep you engaged throughout. Vikas Bahl’s first jab at horror is a worthy effort but one that could have been a tad bit better for the subject matter he had.... full review

So-So, by lachmi Deb Roy, FirstPost : ...Jyotika hardly has anything to explore in her character, but Janki Bodiwala, as Janvi has done a brilliant performance. Shaitaan could have been a good supernatural thriller, which we haven’t seen much in Hindi cinema of late, but it turned out to be a complete mess in the process of depicting the war of good vs evil. It’s a poorly made remake and the story is just not believable. Making the hero win at the end makes the film just too predictable.... full review

So-So, by Nitin Jain, : ...So buckle up, because ‘Shaitaan’ isn’t just a movie – it’s a pulse-pounding journey into the darkness, with a message that’ll stick with you long after the credits roll. Remember, kids (and grown ups too), never take candy from strangers – or tea powder, for that matter!... full review

So-So, by Prannay Pathak, Hindustan Times : ...It’s still a tricky period for the big-screen film, and what Shaitan seems to be hoping will work in its favour is shock value. If a raucous and mildly unsettling hostage drama with a more than mildly entertaining R Madhavan is enough for you, go watch it.... full review

So-So, by Sana Farzeen, india today : ...As humans, we often take our will for granted. Even though most of our actions are dependent on our responsibilities, it's spine-chilling to imagine losing your autonomy. Ajay Devgn has earlier done wonders playing the ordinary man going all out to save his daughter in ‘Drishyam’. The makers had a chance to recreate the same magic using this thrilling and spooky tale. Sadly, they fall short, probably cursed by a weak script and the pressure of helming a remake. Quite a missed opportunity, we must say.... full review

So-So, by Jaya Dwivedi, India TV : ...Ajay Devgn and R. Madhavan's supernatural thriller Shaitaan is worth watching for once. With star-cast and stellar performances, the film has strengthened the predictable story.... full review

So-So, by Rohit Bhatnagar, indian express : ...R Madhavan, an epitome of an actor, shines out right from the start. He even overpowers Ajay’s usual good performance this time. He is the heartbeat of Shaitaan. Ajay impresses you in most of his portions. Jyothika is someone you can’t ignore either, her presence in the film makes you feel like a happy viewer. Janki does her part so aptly. The cast surely upholds the film beyond Vikas’ frame.... full review

So-So, by Mayank Shekhar, MiD DAY : ...Imagine Shaitaan as Kaun, that visually switches into some kinda Kantara (2022), then? No, you don’t have to imagine it. You can just watch it, if you like!... full review

So-So, by GAUTAMAN BHASKARAN, : ...The film is gripping and chilling, but leaves logic behind. Is hypnotism so powerful and so manipulative? I really wonder.... full review

So-So, by Divya Raje Bhonsale, NewsBytes : ...Shaitaan's trailer set a lot of expectations for me, some of which were met before the interval. But beyond that, it let me down by becoming so predictable. However, I can't take away the fact that Shaitaan is backed by some excellent performances, especially those of Madhavan and Bodiwala.... full review

So-So, by sukanya Verma, Rediff : ...At the heart of its wild, wayward supernatural spectacle is R Madhavan and his exceptional command on duality of emotions. Like a chameleon, he transforms from friendly and trustworthy to mean, magnetic and menacing in no time.... full review

So-So, by Nandini Ramnath, : ...Anngad Raaj is wonderful as the smart and sensitive Dhruv. Janki Bodiwala, reprising the role she played in Vash, is the most compelling performer. Bodiwala memorably conveys Jhanvi’s anguish at obeying Vanraj’s demented demands while trying to hold on to her true self. As Vanraj, the aptly cast R Madhavan is smug, sadistic and sinister in equal measure.... full review

So-So, by Anuj Kumar, The Hindu : ...After a smart flourish in the denouement, the post-script feels forced to keep the heroic status of Ajay intact but it is Madhavan who makes sure that one shuts the door the next time one comes across a smooth-talking stranger.... full review

So-So, by Pallabi Purkayastha, Times Now : ...Shaitaan is that old, tired good-over-evil adage that has been revamped and rehashed in Hindi cinema for ages. This time, like most other times, it just does not land on the Devil's den.... full review

Thumbs down, by Rahul Desai, Film Companion : ...In terms of a titillating fable about subservience and violence, that’s the real horror. There’s nothing scarier than a film that acts intimidating because it can.... full review

Thumbs down, by Kartik Bhardwaj, indian express : ...The issue is that Shaitaan does a lot for nothing. At times I felt it was a commentary on controlling men, especially during a scene where Vanraaj tells Janhvi that she has been given “too much freedom” by her parents. The only social commentary it probably made was that kids should not eat anything given by a stranger. The only lesson it preaches is that even if you are the devil, you may cry if you mess with the daddy.... full review

Thumbs down, by Pooja Darade, koimoi : ...Overall, Shaitaan had all the potential of being an excellent supernatural thriller. The first half is so-so, but it’s the second half where the story becomes shoddy and a confusing mess. The climax leaves you with a bitter aftertaste, and you feel cheated as you don’t get the desired and significant answers.... full review

Thumbs down, by Saibal Chatterjee, NDTV : ...Once all the cards are laid on the table, the film falls into a high-pitched yet insipid rigmarole that strives very hard to scare us stiff but succeeds only sporadically to achieve that goal.... full review

Twitter reviews for this movie are not available.

1 readers - 0 yays 1 so-so 0 nays

So-So, by Raj : Without interval, crisp edit

This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: Loads and some really nasty stuff that might not be physically violent but is not nice to the mental and emotional faculties
  • Language: Clean
  • Nudity & Sexual content: None
  • Concept: Black magic
  • General Look and Feel: Tense atmosphere throughout, even during the set-up because there is a constant feeling of ‘something bad will happen now’

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

Lead Actors:
Character Artists:
Music Director:

Shaitaan - Cast, crew, links

Official Sites:
Music Director:
Costume Designer:
Running time:
130 minutes

Comments (2)

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Dear Meetu, agree.. a crisp (non-repititive) edit, without an interval break and somewhat different climax - would've worked wonders...


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