Film

Bollywood Thriller 13B

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This Bollywood thriller opens promisingly enough with a bustling montage of p.o.v. shots that suggest household appliances are spying on a hale-and-hearty fam, recently installed in a sunny high-rise. Television, the graying bogeyman of J-horror and its American retreads, emerges again as the star in-house menace: A soap-opera serial uncannily mirrors the apartment’s daily dramas, mesmerizing the clueless female contingent. Already rattled by a balky elevator and a prayer room whose walls repel nails, beleaguered-good-guy husband Manohar (R. Madhavan) is horrified when the show foretells his wife Priya’s miscarriage, making it must-see TV. Thus does the first half of 13B feel like watching the same belabored movie twice, as the sleeve-tugging sound cues and close-ups snuff out suspense. When the building turns out to stand on the site of a bungalow massacre, the theme of punitive destiny tied to passive narcissism gives way to a convoluted 30-year-old family curse involving two separate retarded siblings. In case you’re wondering where the song and dance fits in, director Vikram Kumar and company serve a starvation ration of two lackluster beach numbers, saving the censored-in-India “Sexy Mama” jam for the credits—wherein Madhavan rocks a giant “13B” gold chain.

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