Disclaimer: In this Betaal review, I only talked about the technicalities of the series that impresses and disappointes me. There are some spoilers in the end of the review.
Betaal is a fictional horror series released on Netflix on May 24. The series is directed by Patrick Graham and co-directed by Nikhil Mahajan. It is produced by Red Chillies Entertainment. Written by Patrick Graham and Suhani Kanwar.
The series tells us the story of the Niljia village, the Betaal Mountain and the CIPD squad who were instructed by the Government to evacuate the place. Here in the series we will see how the bad stupid activities of the greedy people unleashes a 160 years old curse from the Betaal Mountain. What are the consequences and how will the people will save themselves?
The starting 10 mins of the first episode is enough to drive you into the series. It tells you what you are going to witness ahead. The more you move forward in the series the better you learn about the characters and storyline. Betaal is not for the kids, it is a 18+ series where you will see the use of hard abusive words and violence regularly.
VISUALS AND VFX
The biggest plus point of the series is the VFX. The aerial visuals and long shots of the location, looks so impressive that you will feel like going there in person. Futureworks Media Ltd. did a brilliant job with the visual effects.
Garima Mathur really did the necessary thing here. She created a amazing set location, a remote village in the middle of a jungle. The set looks so good.
The use of different languages is brilliantly placed in the series. The village characters who speaks Aadivasi felt like they are real, no exaggeration in their characters. The show is originally shot in Hindi and we see the use of Aadivasi and English language occasionally. And the most important thing, Britishers were not forced to say dialogues in Hindi, that was a good thing according to me.
The series is just 4 episode long, which makes it grippy and interesting. The thrill and horror was maintained through every passing episode. Each episode is around 45 mins and you will finish the whole series in just 3 Hr 5 mins. Watching Betaal, felt like a movie not like a series at all.
Another positive point of the series is the use of costume. The cloths worn by the zombie army, the villagers and the CIPD squad seems very real. In a single watch, I didn’t find any mistake in any of the clothing. Shruti Kapoor did the costume designing for this season.
MAKE-UP AND PROSTHETICS
As you know that this is a zombie story, so prosthetics were very important part of their look. Man I need to say that the zombies look terrific, I just can’t complain about their looks. They look creepy and disgusting. Millennium FX, UK did all the prosthetic work in this series.
The mixing of sound and use of SFX make it feels ten times better. The Dolby sound, sounds so good. Watch it with any good headphones, you will get the real feal of the situations.
Tanay Satam has made the series look like a full fledged Hollywood movie. The use of different type of camera and camera angles were very impressive. The pov shots, the shoulder shots, the running shots everything was brilliant.
WRITING AND DIRECTION
Patrick Graham brought the zombies to India and he totally made them look relevent in this environment for sure. The creation of these creatures and their connection with India seems believable. Their approach was very new and if you are comparing it with any of the western zombie movie, please don’t do it. The storyline seems very fresh and creative in my thoughts.
The series was written by Suhani Kanwar and Patrick collectively. The story that they tried to create was successfully done. Indians were bored of seeing those old school horror movies and serial, they wanted something new and Betaal is definitely that new thing.
Vineet Kumar Singh as Vikram Sirohi is the perfect choice for the role. The man is on a roll, bagging big projects under his name and is standing tall in front of all the expectations. You will feel very connected with him throughout the series. His character development is pretty impressive.
Aahana Kumra is brilliant with her role. She showed us how a female soldier really tackles with the situations thrown at her. The most impressive character for me other than Sirohi was Puniya played by Manjiri Pupala. She is one killer of an actor, her accent, her expression and her body language was totally mind-blowing.
Syna Anand, Jatin Goswami, Jitendra Joshi, Suchitra Pillai played their roles perfectly. They did what their character demanded them to do. All the other supporting actors, were also good. Their collective work made the series worth watching.
The only thing that I am not happy about Betaal is the dialogues. They were just not good. In several scenes, soldiers seen saying very inappropriate sentences, which doesn’t make any impact on the situation. I will not say it was completely bad but some dialogues just doesn’t make sense at all, it takes the depth from the scenes.
The plot of Betaal is very good and has so much potential, even though it kinda failed in creating horror at first place but it has definitely give me thrills watching it. For someone who is very scared of horror stories, this series will be a good watch for them.
Now the season 2 of the series is totally confirmed after watching the last minutes of the final episode. It will be very fun to see how the creators are going to use the zombie army in creating havoc and destruction in the Urban India, Mumbai.