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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

The Underbug Review: Ali Fazal’s Psychological Horror Shocks Us Till the End

Shujaat Saudagar's The Underbug was premiered at Slamdance Film Festival 2023

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Khushant Runghe
Khushant Runghe
Covering the entertainment industry which includes reviewing movies, series, anime, comics and movies.

INDIA: Ali Fazal and Hussain Dalal starrer The Underbug takes a unique route to haunt us, which is more than supernatural aspects. The almost 70 min of psychological thriller toys with our minds in every instance of each scene. 

Without delving into story details with few lows and more highs, let’s find out what The Underbug offers to us. 

The Underbug’s horror increases on Ali Fazal and Hussain Dalal’s performances 

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Shujaat Saudagar is the man in the director’s chair holding the grip of each character and story element, tuning in when and where to fit the suitable aspects. Observing his filming detail, he manages to bind us to his horror drama world. 

Saudagar pits Ali Fazal and Hussain Dalal as two strangers (rioters in particular) on the eve of Indian Independence Day. Both take refuge in an abandoned house. What follows next is an eerie turmoil between both characters with a spice of horror. 

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In The Underbug, Fazal and Dalal took centre stage to engage our viewing experience on the screen. From their screen presence, they succeed in glueing our attention in the dark atmosphere. Fazal completely conveys his expression through his eyes which speaks volumes on every level.

On the other hand, Dalal phenomenally plays with dialogue to remind us of The Underbug’s horror premise. Conversation between both heavily adds to the thrilling moment, or to say it majorly builds the tension where we continuously guess what will happen next. 

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Coming back to Shujaat Saudagar, he, along with Abbas Dalal and Hussain Dalal, laid the story’s foundation by acting as the sole of The Underbug. Following Dhindora and Taaza Khabar, Abbas Dalal takes a new way with a totally different genre that again propels brilliantly. 

Talking about the technical aspects, it casts a setting that splashes horror. All credits go to Tassaduq Hussain for handling the cinematography with brilliance. His photographic direction adds extremely dark colour grading to the film sending spine-chilling vibes in a few scenes. Despite the dark colour palette in filming, we can majorly identify each detail of every scenario. 

What could have been better?

The Underbug showers the horror notion perfectly but to feel the pure essence, one has to maintain patience at the start as the pace is a bit slow. The dark cinematography at a few points slightly causes a hindrance in certain scenes where we have to stress our vision. 

The length of The Underbug feels slightly short. The way every character is penned, we want to explore more about their nature which may have breathed more horror into the story. 


Shujaat Saudagar’s directorial The Underbug offers a new mode of horror to haunt us with the gripping performances of Ali Fazal and Hussain Dalal. 

Transcontinental Times rating: 3.8/5

Also Read: Taaza Khabar Review: Bhuvan Bam’s Dramedy is a Bulletin Full of Entertainment


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