I had some fairly low expectations going into Kaalo. From what I had read it was a semi-remake of Jeepers Creepers II (2003) with some minor Indian flourishes. While there is barely any dancing and singing, Kaalo still manages to retain enough of that classic psychotronic Western cinema vibe to keep me smiling. It’s cheap as all hell but that’s just part of the charm.
In the 18th century, the desert village of Kulbhata was terrorized by an evil witch. This witch was sacrificing young girls in a quest for immortality. The villagers eventually fought back and killed the monster but lived in constant fear of her returning. It became too much and Kulbhata was abandoned and has remained a ghost town for over two hundred years. Enter a small construction crew disturbing the empty village and faster than you can say “you really shouldn’t be doing that” the crew is dead and the angry monstrosity is back with a vengeance.
Nearby, a bus has just picked up a young man who goes by the name Sameer. He’s on his way home with a bunch of dynamite and a plan to end a bad drought in his hometown. Handsome and brooding, it’s quite obvious Sameer will be our hero. Also joining him on this ten hour bus journey is an older couple in route to see their grandson, a young girl on her way to her grandmother’s house, a couple of lovebirds, a model and her photographer (who resembles an Indian Paul Naschy) and a quartet of rowdy young men on their way to a wedding (one of them vaguely resembles Artie Lange). There was also a family of four scheduled for travel but they are done away with by Kaalo before the bus can get to them.
The group encounters a mysterious gorge in the middle of the road and are forced to change their course setting. This puts them traveling right through the cursed village of Kulbhata. The only one weary of this change of plans is the elderly priest who knows what evil supposedly lurks there. Nobody listens to him and they commence with the journey. Sure as shit, Kaalo strikes from the sky (she has poorly rendered CGI wings) and from below (she speedily travels through underground caves, popping up on her unexpected victim) with her nasty looking antique battle axe. Sameer and the young girl forge a delightful friendship and he becomes her protector when it becomes clear what the old creature is after.
There is a reoccurring song that shows up randomly but it doesn’t charm like the dance numbers in other Indian fare. It’s mostly played over existing dialogue so it just serves to make it look like it’s being horrendously synced. There’s some blood but nothing massive (as is common) and the infighting amongst the group is kept to a minimum. The witch is fun looking and the awful CGI accompanying her is pretty damn charming. Add to that a likable cast and you have a moderately fun film that goes 90 minutes (as opposed to the two hour plus runtimes I’ve grown accustomed to) and has a likable enough cast. 6/10 If you want to check it out, it is available for your viewing pleasure on Amazon Prime.