* reviews of things i found on (mostly) netflix *
* now with spoilers *
Ghoul is a limited series out of India. It tells the story of Nida, a young officer in a dark-future world where free thought has been restricted, and speech against the government is strictly prohibited.
She’s put in the uncomfortable position of trying to protect her father from the government, and ultimately he is in fact taken to a detention center. After that, she’s transferred to a detention center as a guard, and immediately is made aware of a dark supernatural force that seems to be inhabiting the facility.
The atmosphere of Ghoul is dark – the lighting is minimal, many scenes outside are at night with the rest inside of windowless cells and hallways. But this literal darkness, which sets the mood very effectively, is not the kind where you’re wondering what the heck is going on or not quite being able to see the action. The sound is instrumental too, allowing the smallest sounds to be heard against the general silence of the facility – this illustrates the interpersonal tensions without even having to present them in dialogue.
The actors are all solid performers; the struggle Nida experiences about her father and about the new prisoner, Saeed, are conveyed realistically with minimal exposition. The people we don’t necessarily like are still presented as real people rather than as stereotypes, and the people we see as the “good” guys aren’t squeaky clean.
The supernatural aspect is presented successfully as something that isn’t normally believed in – we’re able to feel the strangeness of the supernatural occurrences as deeply as we would if it happened to us in our real lives. At the same time, because of the government oppression and some hypocrisy we see in the administration of the facility, we’re encouraged to see the supernatural whatever-it-is as a good guy of sorts. But since it’s coming after Nida, and we like her, we’re conflicted about whether the supernatural entity should win or lose.
The series is three episodes … which I didn’t notice when I first started watching, and after it was over, I was disappointed that I couldn’t watch more of it. It had a complete ending, but it ended in a way that, if they wanted to do more, that would be great.
Well worth watching.
10 out of 10