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Fantasia 2020

[Fantasia] ‘Kriya’ review: Dark magic, DJs, and dealing with the patriarchy

Family ties.

The Fantasia Film Fest has been home to some great horror films from other parts of the world. This gives audiences the opportunity to see a reimagining of familiar premises. It also is a chance to see horror unique to other cultures. Kriya is a co-production between India and the United Kingdom. The movie is about a DJ named Neel. One night, he meets a woman named Sitara. When she takes him to her home, Neel enters a world of ritual and strange familial bonds.

Slow burn horror has become increasingly common in recent years. This pacing is very polarizing since some will enjoy the storytelling while others find them too methodical for the genre. While Kriya has a patient pace, it falls into a different category. Setting is very important to the movie. The majority of Kriya takes place in Sitara’s house. Much time is spent establishing the atmosphere. There is an air of mystery about what is happening in the home.

This mood continues even as things become more chaotic. Kriya is dimly lit lending to the mysterious nature of the film. Offsetting the dark shots are reds and blues that stand out even though they seem to be scrubbed of their brightness. Even when Kriya is willing to let the audience in on some of its secrets, there is still intrigue surrounding the customs. The movie lays out early what must be done. Hindu custom states a son must perform a parent’s last rites. But what happens when there is no son?

[Fantasia] 'Kriya' review: Dark magic, DJs, and dealing with the patriarchy

Though it sometimes handles it clumsily, the movie is also an examination of the patriarchy. Neel tries to be the brave hero helping the damsels in distress. Kriya handles this delicately and concentrates in delivering a powerful horror story. There are many interactions between Neel, Sitara, and her sister Sara flip the power structure, however. 

Kriya is a horror movie that focuses on the scares. The story is filled with a fascinating story and mysterious characters that will draw characters in. The narrative can be a little confusing at times, but there is enough intrigue to keep audiences invested. The ending may leave some with more questions than answers, but it is an overall enjoyable movie.

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