Amazon Streaming: Trust Your Mother's Instincts: Evil Eye (2020) - Reviewed

What happens when that crazy family member insists on superstition and astrology to determine your life’s choices? You know the type, right? Sometimes, their sense of reality overlaps with their beliefs, rendering their advice rather fickle. This is the nature of Evil Eye, a freshly baked Blumhouse suspense thriller based on Indian tradition with supernatural elements.

The story entails typical Delhi mother, Usha (Sarita Choudhury), eager for her daughter, Pallavi (Sunita Mani) to find a good husband, but things get hotter than a good Laal Maas when Pallavi’s choice of man awakens a terrible secret from Usha’s past. At first, Usha is elated to hear that her daughter has found someone special in New Orleans, but the distance between the two countries only exacerbates Usha’s apprehension when she begins to realize that her daughter’s new love could be the reincarnation of her own former, abusive boyfriend from thirty years ago.

She finds similarities between the Pallavi’s new boyfriend, Sandeep (Omar Maskati) and her late violent ex who tried to kill her, but her stark superstitious nature tarnishes her credibility among friends and family. The only thing Usha can do to ensure Pallavi’s safety is to compel her daughter to wear an Evil Eye talisman bracelet, but as she learns more about the wealthy and just-too-perfect Sandeep, Usha realizes that even her strong faith in the talisman would not save her daughter if she is correct in her assumptions. Usha is convinced that Sandeep is the evil soul of her dead abuser come back to wreak vengeance and this pushes her to unbridled measures. However, do parallels really mean reincarnation?

Evil Eye is a fascinating trip through Indian culture and contemporary traditions, while forcing its audience to assess the validity of superstitions and their roots. The flashback scenes of Usha’s own fear and abuse at the hands of Krishnan, her deceased ex, justifies her terror when confronted with seemingly uncanny likenesses. The film addresses the psychological damage of abusive relationships and the skillful manipulation of narcissists that treat their partners like possessions.

The dialogue displays a strong and amicable relationship between Pallavi and her parents, which effectively serve to establish a positive bond that makes it even darker when Usha’s warnings and actions become more and more reckless. Writer Madhuri Shekar’s scenes are realistically scattered between amity, tension, fear and panic at the hands of directors Elan Dassani and Rajeev Dassani. 

Use of bright colors give Evil Eye a feel for the culture, but also accentuates the cheerful mask most abusive relationships wear, while discord prevails beneath. Technically and visually, the film is marvelously shot. It is clearly on a proper budget with great professionalism both in acting and scene settings. 

Although the film starts with a bit of a slow burn that borders on a romantic comedy, it pays off once the ominous elements cleverly creep into selected scenes. Evil Eye keeps you guessing right to the end, because the scenes are perfectly surreptitious, coupled with such good acting that you truly do not know whether Usha is just paranoid or if Sandeep is a reincarnated bastard. Will the Evil Eye protect Pallavi or is it all just in Usha’s head? Wear your talisman – just in case.

--Tasha Danzig