Netflix prepares to launch their second original series from India.
Hot off the heels of their first Indian original series, Sacred Games, Netflix has released the trailer for Ghoul. The three-part miniseries stars Radhika Apte and is backed by Blumhouse Productions, as the horror giants continue their foray into television.
The trailer sees Apte as a soldier with a troubled family life. A list of her military accolades is read off before it’s revealed that she has aided in the arrest of her father. His interrogation quickly takes a dark turn, as the trailer transitions into a more typical horror trailer style. A series of jumpy edits lead to a final jump scare, revealing that something is very wrong here.
The trailer gives very little away and doesn’t really appear to break away from standard horror tropes. However, the synopsis given does present some more intriguing ideas:
“From the makers of ‘Insidious,’ ‘Get Out,’ and ‘Udta Punjab’ — ‘Ghoul’ is a chilling series about a prisoner who arrives at a remote military interrogation center and turns the tables on his interrogators, exposing their most shameful secrets. You can fight the demons of this world, but what about the ones that aren’t?”
Now, this sounds much more interesting, considering the familial connections. After all, using horror to convey family turmoil has produced some fantastic movies in recent years. And while Ghoul appears to be aiming for something broader than the likes of The Babadook and Hereditary, it’s a concept that’s proven to be extremely effective.
What also makes the series stand out is the fact that it’s Netflix’s first Indian horror production. The streaming service has made some effort to put out a wide variety of projects from around the world, even though they still have some way to go. But the fact that they are attempting to bring distinct voices from India to audiences in the West is worth celebrating.
Many film lovers in the West still dismissively jump to Bollywood musicals when they think of Indian cinema, even when there’s significantly more to offer. Something Netflix is in a fantastic position to highlight. In a world where they continue to dominate the worlds of film and television, its good to see Netflix offer some greater diversity in the content they put out. And in many ways, the horror genre is the best way to enlighten people. Something as simple as a jump scare or a creepy image can frighten you, regardless of the language being spoken. There’s something universal about it, a quality that few other genres possess.
Despite still producing plenty of the mid-budget horror movies they’re known for, Blumhouse has also looked to step out of their comfort zone from time to time. Get Out showed a willingness to highlight urgent issues of race. And getting their hands on the Halloween franchise shows they’re ready to compete with horror royalty. Even with non-horror projects, success has been found. Whiplash got considerable awards attention and, despite only being one episode in, HBO’s Sharp Objects has already captivated audiences. The fact then that they’re also seeking to get behind horror from other parts of the world is commendable.
Apte in the lead role here also stands out. The actor has already starred in two other Netflix projects in 2018, the previously mentioned Sacred Games and Lust Stories. And this may speak to something of an untapped potential for Netflix and other streaming sites. Their ability to bring original content from all over the world to one place could be hugely significant. While also making recognizable names out of actors like Apte without them necessarily having to move into doing Western films. The world is more connected than ever, and platforms like Netflix have a unique ability to open our eyes to different perspectives and exciting talent from all over the world.
For those looking to expand upon what they view, the internet is a fantastic resource. Tireless work is being done by the likes of Siddhant Adlakha to promote South Asian cinema, for example. And for streaming services, a start has been made. But we can only hope that they’ll continue to highlight Indian artists and that horror fans will be open to watching Ghoul. And we must keep our own eyes open for what’s out there in the meantime.