Review: Afriti (2017) by Avishek Das


As part of the vast chain of Indian cinema, Bengali cinema has delved into the horror genre in the past with a small output of titles in recent years. While these titles were full-length efforts, the latest film from Nupur Motion Vintage Films, titled “Afriti,” aims to be the first slasher short in that region.

Devoted to his girlfriend, a man is devastated when he finds out that she’s cheated on him and seeks solace with his friends. Trying to help him get over her, the group decides to hang out at his house when the group suddenly find themselves stranded in the dark with a mysterious killer striking them one-by-one. Forced to put their personal problems on hold, the dwindling group must find a way of surviving the night against the masked maniac.

For the most part, this isn’t all that bad. When it works, the short generates some interest in its main characters who are a rather fun group to spend time with. The central group here come off rather nicely with a great deal of camaraderie as they spend a lot of time together and they have a nice connection here, being able to poke fun and joke with each other while still retaining the sense of friendship bound throughout here. Another fine issue here is that the film does have some solid horror elements from the kills which are quite decent overall. The initial stalking with the lone victim in the bedroom confronting the killer is a nicely brutal introduction here, the first stalking in the darkened house once the power’s gone out is rather impressive with the animal mask being silhouetted by the light from the camera phone while the subsequent brawls are decent enough. With the house used to great effect due to the blackout as well as the imposing animal mask used by the killer, this one had some good points to it.

While those elements work for the film, it does have some minor elements that don’t work all that well. The biggest issue is the rather aimless middle section of the film once the first murder has occurred. Knowing that the group has encountered a vicious killer, the group decides to settle down and debate who the identity could be rather than trying to barricade themselves, defend the others or even try to get help which does come off rather oddly. Although the motivations for doing so is logical in the situation, doing so highlights the somewhat weak story in this section as the short goes through the same basic formula that just repeats itself during the stalking. That gets compounded by the flashback explanation which doesn’t really connect his motivation with the reasoning for the rampage so to have them spending time on this issue when it doesn’t mean anything is a bit nonsensical. The finale’s twist doesn’t really help matters either so that does tend to make it come off rather basic and formulaic as well. However, taking into account the fact that this one is only a part of the intended story, these issues aren’t that detrimental and it still is quite nice overall.

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