Blumhouse Productions is a big name in the industry for producing some of the best movies in the horror genre. And when I found out that the same production house came up with Shah Rukh Khan’s Betaal, my expectations went through the roof. I mean, if you have seen the Insidious series, you would know what I’m talking about. Created by Patrick Graham, who also made Ghoul, the show promised some gory horror. But people, let me be honest, it is only gory, and there is barely any horror.
Episode 1: Let’s do this
The zombie horror series looks inviting and different from the usual Netflix fare. Moreover, I figured since Netflix India is doing some great work, how bad could this possibly be? A construction company hires an armed squad to clear a village to build a tunnel in a cursed cave, and all hell breaks loose. When the series starts with an eerie ritual of a goat’s blood being offered as ‘bali‘ to please the demon, you know things are getting interesting. And then we’re told that the mountain has been cursed by a demon and anyone who tries to mess with it is going to pay. But no one believes their silly superstitions. This is going to be crazy!
Episode 2: I can still do this
Never question how bad a show can be, because sometimes, they take that challenge far too seriously. When the CIPD squad breaks down the cursed cave, half of them end up being attacked and murdered. This was done by the ghosts/zombies of the British army under Colonel Lynedoch. These are poorly dressed zombies, with bad makeup and terrible VFX, and they’re hungry and can infect you. Typical zombie stuff.
Moving on, when the spirit of Colonel Lynedoch possesses the main leader, her appearance and posture change quickly. And the best explanation the squad comes up with is, ‘It must be because of the shock’. I mean, the woman literally gets white hair, and it is out of shock? In that case, one more episode of this, and I’m gonna get white hair too.
Episode 3: Can I still do this?
By now, the plot thickens, and everyone suddenly believes the villagers and the curse. So, the rest of the squad runs to protect themselves and get shelter. All this while, they have woken up the British army that is ready to wreak havoc and attack the world. And let me tell you this, these aren’t your regular stupid zombies who walk slowly. These are fully trained and armed zombie soldiers ready to follow their commander. What follows next is the battle between the CIPD squad and the zombie British army who are hungry and disgusting. Also, they have ammunition while the CIPD squad has the good old haldi namak ki bhabhooti, which sounds quite fair because it is a war. But in the next scene, it starts pouring and their trusted lakshman rekha is washed away. Oh no!
Episode 4: Why am I still doing this?
Okay, I grabbed a Disprin, because I’m honestly dedicated to this show now. So basically, the British army wants to sacrifice a young girl named Saanvi whom the squad is protecting. I almost forgot to mention her because she was that non-existent in the show and failed to follow basic orders like a good kid. Moving on, the army infiltrates their safe house, and a whole lot of action later, the CIPD squad blows up the tunnel in order to stop the army. Well, at least it sounds like a good ending. Whew! But wait, they later reveal that if anyone blows up the tunnel, they would free these troops who would attack the world. Well yeah, I’m on my second Disprin now, kthanks bye.
I’m still watching because this is what life has come to, and I hope I’ve helped you make a decision about Betaal. If you’re in the mood for some cheap jump scares and a predictable plot, go ahead and watch it. My only advice, don’t forget to grab some popcorn and painkillers.