Tumbbad (2018) – As Good as Gold

Summer is somehow the perfect season to watch horror films if you aren’t a great horror fan and don’t want to watch them in the dark since the whole day is practically sunlit. That’s my reason for watching all these horror movies now, and not waiting to post them during Halloween. So here is one of the newest horror films from India!


A story is being told of the Goddess of Prosperity and her son Hastar and of a hidden treasure in the Sarkar’s mansion. In 1918 in the village of Tumbbad in Maharashtra Vinayak lives with his little brother and his mother where it’s their mother’s duty to feed the monster living there and she wishes to have a special golden coin to unlock the treasures of Sarkar’s mansion, where their mother works. When tragedy strikes the family leave. Fifteen years later Vinayak returns back to the mansion to find the treasure.


First off, India has a reputation one could say of having more bad horror movies than good ones. That has been the case for many years and though they get the crowd to see the fun times, they are rarely critically praised. But last year this has changed with the arrival of horror comedy movie like Stree, fantasy/fairy tale horror with Pari and then todays period horror film, Tumbbad. All came out in 2018 and in one swell swoop got both critical praise and audience appreciation. Sure, there are still bad horror movies to be had, but the landscape is changing when it comes to these films. Even I am now waiting to see what kind of a new Indian horror film will be the next great thing, or will this be a one year storm of good horror movies before going back to mediocre ones. Only time will tell and 2019 is only halfway done.

The film’s acting is stellar. Sohum Shah as Vinayak is a protagonist who is both a little mad as well as smart and charismatic, as per this kind of folk type stories. Though he is far from a perfect human and his choices make the film sway from black, white to grey morally. The acting of everyone is natural throughout the film, though a few such as Piyush Kaushik go for the melodramatic horror acting in their parts. That may sound like a criticism, but it really isn’t, especially works in a film like this where things are a little more larger than life even though the story itself seems small at first glance.

The biggest strength in this film is its use of music and cinematography. Everything goes together smoothly, making this a movie a feast for the ever diligent eyes. The cinematography is the films biggest asset as it makes the world real and lived in. The more fantastical elements come through with the sound design which adds to the creepiness and uneasiness as well as the mystery of the power of the goddess and her son. The best monsters are the ones we don’t see and this film lives up to it…until it doesn’t, but it’s more unsettling than anything.

After all, it is the humans who are monsters. It sounds cliché, and it is, but what better moral is there in a period horror story set in India where morality is so seeped in to the consciousness of the stories there. Being a period piece, early 20th century India specifically, it adds to the atmosphere as the country itself is surging to be free, while inside monsters still creep beneath the earth, in the womb of all civilisation.

This film is scary if you don’t like tension, dark places and an overall feeling of uneasiness. There are the stable occasional jump scares, but they work and the one who scares you is in the end more terrifying than the jump itself. This is a visually stunning movie that for anyone interested in horror from abroad will love.


Thank you for reading! 

3 thoughts on “Tumbbad (2018) – As Good as Gold

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