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Review: Gaslight is a passable thriller where the setting of the film serves as one of the protagonists

The mystery thriller Gaslight has a decent story, a compelling setting, and engaging background music. Although a few sequences seem superfluous and foreseeable, the overall impact of the movie justifies a watch.

Gaslight Review

Gaslight Review

Murder mysteries, whodunits, and horror films - this is director Pavan Kirpalani's territory. Now, he is here with "Gaslight" after delivering some critically lauded movies in these genres. The star cast of the film is quite promising and thus, one would expect a great offering from them. A murder, few good-looking suspects, and a spooky haveli. We are in for a thrilling ride and having had the chance to witness this mysterious world of Kirpalani, this is what I think about the film.

The Premise and Screenplay

The Premise and Screenplay

Gaslight is a murder-mystery thriller that centers around Meesha, played by Sara Ali Khan, who returns to her hometown after many years to meet her father, the king of that setting. However, things take a dark turn when she discovers that her father is missing, and strange and spooky things start happening around her. As Meesha tries to unravel the truth behind her father's disappearance, she is forced to confront her fears and the dark secrets of her past.

The movie starts on a high note, with the mystery and build-up of suspense beginning in the first 15-20 minutes itself. The director does an excellent job of maintaining the pace of the screenplay, keeping the audience on the edge of their seats. The jump scare scenes are well-executed, and the editing is sharp, keeping the plot on track.

The Plotholes & Avoidable Instances

The Avoidable and Plotholes

While there are plenty of jump-scare thrills and plot twists throughout the film, some of the scenes seem superfluous. Since the director refrained from including a romantic subplot involving Meesha and Kapil, even one of their kissing scenes felt awkward and out of place. While Meesha's childhood receives a lot of attention, we don't learn the details of what truly happened to her or how she got to where she is until the very end. The ending may have been neater if the extraneous tension and value-education lessons hadn't been thrown to the climax, which also feels a little strained.

Gaslighting mystery

Gaslighting mystery

Despite these flaws, Gaslight is an engaging and spooky thriller that keeps you guessing until the very end. The gaslighting mystery is well-executed, playing with the audience's psychology and involving a proper whodunit with spooky horror elements. There are several subplots and suspects, adding to the complexity of the story. However, some of the plot twists are predictable, and viewers who have watched many mystery and murder thrillers might see them coming from a mile away.

Performances

Performances

In Atrangi Re, Sara Ali Khan did exhibit her mettle, and we anticipated seeing more of her in that capacity. Sara Ali Khan as Meesha is the central character in Gaslight, yet it doesn't feel like a protagonist role. She delivered a sincere performance employing the script that was presented, but there were times when it seemed like she could have shone brighter. Vikrant Massey as Kapil has some sinister secrets that are concealed behind him, and he consistently pulls them off successfully. He follows through on what he intends to do. Chitrangada Singh as Rukmani appears to have a strong presence on screen and is appealing. She is a strong performer in this story and effectively conveys all the emotions.

Yet Another Protagonist and BGM

Yet Another Protagonist and BGM

In the end, the setting and background music are among the movie's strongest elements, adding to the overall thrill. The tension was intensified by the magnificent haveli's wreckage, shattered windows, step well, shady space, and entrances. Everything in Rukmani's chamber, from the vintage car to the style of the bed, contributed to the haveli's authentic feel and appearance. The piano theme, the fading sounds throughout the tense sequences, and the sound effects—such as thunder, footsteps, and screeches—were all masterfully blended into the plot.

The Verdict: 

The mystery thriller Gaslight has a decent story, a compelling setting, and engaging background music. Although a few sequences seem superfluous and foreseeable, the overall impact of the movie justifies a watch.

Rating: *** stars (3/5)

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Vikrant Massey Thumbnail

Vikrant Massey

Sara Ali Khan Thumbnail

Sara Ali Khan

Chitrangada Singh Thumbnail

Chitrangada Singh

Gaslight (2023)  poster

Gaslight (2023)

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