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Scared Evil

Frederic Andrau, Sarika, Somitra Chatterjee

india Updated: Jun 03, 2006 19:35 IST

A super-natural thriller in terms of genre, Sacred Evil adapts a story by Indian Wicca exponent Ipsita Roy Chakraverti about the church, religious faith and the enigma of evil. However, it fails to appeal to non-believing audiences.

Sacred Evil is a story of a traumatised nun who continuously sees frightening visions of an indeterminate past until a Wiccan (Sarika) is brought into the convent to exorcise Martha of her demons.

Like the ominous mood and the mild intensity of the narrative, the plot moves in mysterious and yet somewhat simplistic ways. The co-directors alternate between the nun's traumatised present and young vivacious Claudia's technicoloured but tortured past, with a flair for colours that glow with a hidden vivacity.

Sacred Evil is based on  Ipsita Roy Chakraverti's novel about the church, religious faith and the enigma of evil. However, it fails to appeal to non-believing audiences.

Quite obviously not the average

masala

fare, nor a slanted-eyed look at the underbelly of the Catholic church like Vinod Pande's

Sins

or a church-meets-headlines treatise like Sashi Kumar's

Kaya Taran

,

Sacred Evil

derives its positive energy from the utterly sincere adaptation of the original material.



The fact that some of the actors are unknown faces proves to be a blessing in disguise. The anonymity provided by the unexposed cast gives the directors the freedom to go into areas of the human psyche where fear, insecurity and guilt are allowed free movement.



The narrative moves fluently between the past and the present. Whether it's the imposing ambience of the church or Kolkata of the 1940s, French cinematographer Ivan Kozelka furnishes the frames with colours that we have either not seen or seen in an era gone-by.



Either way, we must credit this unorthodox film on a deviant doctrine for its wonderful display of colour and starkness. We may not like how the characters behave within the bizarre situations created in the plot, but we cannot take our eyes off the fascinating frames.



The performances look unrehearsed and everyone seems to believe in the bizarre happenings...and that's half the battle won. Lynsey Pow is a discovery. She is amazingly skilled in her ability to bring out multiple shades and personalities in a troubled ambience. Sarika is just about effective in her reactive role.



The film's ambience, however, is acutely uninviting. The pale twilight shades used for the nun's sequences are reminiscent of

The Omen

where disturbances in the Church were externalised through discomfiting visuals.



Naturally, this film about unnatural occurrences is not everyone's cup of tea. Though the narrative gets high on the mood mode, it also puts the non-believers off. You have to be either an occultist or at least mildly interested in the supernatural to even get into the narrative scheme.