Horror is one of the few genres of filmmaking where Pakistanis haven’t had the success like India or Iran. In fact, most of the horror films make you laugh instead of scaring you because a) they take the audience for granted, b) they believe that Hollywood is far away from Pakistan and c) they have no idea how to corroborate a convincing horrific plot. Syed Atif Ali’s Pari is one such low-budget venture that would have passed if shown on TV but sadly they chose to screen it in a cinema and make people hate the genre altogether.
Shehram and Mehwish (Junaid Akhter and Azikah Daniel) move into a new house which is far away from the city since Shehram is a writer and needs peace and quiet. Little did he know that his daughter Pari (Khushi Maheen) was possessed for some odd reason (a very odd reason!) and all the horrific things happening in their house is because of her. People start missing parties at their house, the former owner turns up with threats and Shehram’s mentor (played by Qavi Khan) dies in mysterious circumstances. Why is Pari acting strange? What can be done to save the couple from mental and external torture? Watch the film to know if you have the capability to withstand 2 hours of complete nonsense.
Think of all the horror films you have seen and then close your eyes for a second. When you will open them, you will see the director’s horrific take on all those films since there is the Nun from Conjuring 2, the Rocking Chair from Anabelle, the house from Vasu Shastra and a poster that reminds you of The Amityville Horror. Yes, the makers must be credited for thinking big but then they could have come up with original stuff in the same amount of money. No actor was able to convince the audience that whatever was happening on screen was something scary – in fact for the first time in 50 years, Qavi Khan played an irritating character for no reason. Rasheed Naz’s character seemed to be an extension from the moulvi he played in Khuda Kay Liye while the lead pair of Junaid Akhter and Azikah Daniel failed to impress.
As long as the makers consider audience on equal footing, things will turn out to be hit but when you decide to place Hollywood starlets Gregory Peck and Omar Sharif alongside Saleem Mairaj as founders of a Hospital in Islamabad, that’s where you lose their respect. That error would have gone unobserved had it been done in a film that had a great story, brilliant acting or amazing execution of the idea but Pari had neither and that’s why it stood out to the audience who could only laugh out loud on themselves. Pari remains one of those films that shouldn’t have happened in the first place – with such films’ release the audience’ trust is broken and the next film suffers.