Huh! This actually felt like a TV movie! Somehow gentler, cheaper, slower, more friendly to commercial breaks and distracted viewing. But very pleasant for what it was, more pleasant and easy than some of the Movie-Movie versions.
I unashamedly love TV movies. And I am very worried that they will be destroyed by Streaming Movies which are similar but different. TV Movies, they have this kind of rambly pace to them, like they are set up for little 10 to 15 minute chunks of viewing, for people to drop in and out of them. And they have some really good actors in them, but actors who are just having a fun time because it’s only a TV movie, it’s not like it matters for their career. And they are set up for all ages family watching! Which is rare for America, since most Hollywood films are aimed at a particular demographic, not across the board.
Bhoot Police ended up being released straight to TV/Streaming. And it feels like a movie where that was the plan all along. Or else someone watched the final cut and went “this is SO CLEARLY a TV movie, we aren’t releasing in theaters”. It’s a bunch of pleasant little segments, some nice performers who aren’t turning in the deepest performance of their career, and most of all it has a sort of friendly “please invite us into your living room” vibe to it.
India is having a bit of a Horror Comedy Social Statement moment right now. Horror Comedy is of course a very old genre, going all the way back to Bhoot Bungla. But ever since Stree turned into a sleeper hit, horror comedy with a social statement in it (especially a feminist statement) is the New Hot Thing. Stree is so sharp it cuts you with the humor. Housefull 4 and Golmaal 5 were hitting you over the head with “do you get it? Do you get it?” This movie is like being hit with a pillow. Not very sharp, but doesn’t hurt when you are hit either.
Saif is having fun and has a few moments of actual emotion which help. Jacqueline continues to have FANTASTIC comic timing, and her character is very slight, basically comic relief. Arjun K looks gooooood, and it’s a nice soft character in his sweet good boy sweet spot. And Yami Gautam is also there. There’s loads of fun jokes, like an annual competition for a “gold medal” in exorcism, but they aren’t hit quite as hard as they need to be, more sort of flashing past. The plot meanders quite a bit. And any social message is pretty amorphous and open. The opening sequence is excellent, but is the most socially relevant there is in the whole movie, the rest of it is just wandering around the point.
So I guess I recommend this movie if you are in the mood for TV movie. Something you can watch with your whole family, something you can walk in and out of and still follow along, something that you can forget about the next day.