We have all had those sleepovers in our childhood days, whether with friends or cousins which always ended up with kids in a room telling each other horror stories. The most common elements of each of these stories had to be a house, a witch, protagonists who were non-believers and an amazingly predictable ending. Cheap thrills through and through.
A Tale Of An Onion Witch (ATOAO) takes the quintessential Indian urban legend and spins a narrative that is as funny as it is nail-bitingly terrifying. This is not an exaggeration. Piyush Srivastava’s 16-minute short tells a story that comes with just the right amount of thrill and entertainment to fit a slumber party. But it outdoes itself due to its sheer production values. Brilliantly written, ATOAO glories in its perfect editing. Though the cinematography is not perfect, editing makes up for it almost entirely.
On the face, the premise prepares the viewer for a regular horror flick. The laughs come unwarned, taking you entirely by surprise. Two men (Prakhar Toshniwal and Saurabh Mukhija) on an apartment hunt, find what looks to be the perfect situation, with a minor catch: Don’t open the door at night to the 100-year old onion witch.
Their landlady, Mangla (Archana Mittal) leaves them with due warning and a satisfying deal on rent. So far so good. Things take a turn when their neighbour comes calling for help one night. They volunteer, tongues waggling, elaborate moves ready. Comedy and drama ensues.
However clichéd it may be on the surface, the best part about this film has to be the detailing that the screenwriters (Pradeep Kumar and Srivastava) and the director have worked into the film. The protagonists have been written to perfection, be it in portraying the eminent gym culture attitude or putting up acts to get laid. Mukhija and Toshniwal play their parts with delightful believability, without which all the tonal elements would either come off as flat or over the top.
At a runtime of sixteen minutes, ATOAO pulls off its ambitious vision with dexterity. An awardee of the ‘Short of the Week’ by Barrel Select Large Short Films, it is a must-watch, especially for those who love a little bit of drama with their thrillers.#ShortFilmReview: 'A Tale Of An Onion Witch': Equal parts hilarious and terrifying Click To Tweet