Ghoul just released a few days back and there is already a lot of buzz around the show. When it comes to the genre of horror, Bollywood and Indian television have a shitty history. More than Bollywood, it’s the TV horror shows that has always been unable to provide actually ‘scary’ content. Shows like Aahat and Zee Horror Show were the only ones in this category for a very long time. And let’s be honest, those were more funny than scary.
Bollywood and the Hindi entertainment industry had evolved over the past few years. Since the introduction of platforms like Netflix and Prime Video, a lot of web series have given us stories that offer good content. Shows like Sacred Games have been received quite well and now seems to be as good a time as any to experiment with the horror genre as well. Ghoul too looks promising and might actually prove to be path-breaking in the Indian/Bollywood horror genre.
What exactly is Ghoul based on though? And, what is the storyline? For that, let us first understand folklore behind this show.
The Arabic Folklore
Ghoul is written/directed by Patrick Graham. Though Ghoul is not based on any pre-existing story and neither is it an adaptation/spin-off, Graham’s work is definitely an inspired one. While talking about the series, Graham revealed that Ghoul is a dystopian tale. This is so because Graham admits having always been inspired by dystopian stories. What is a dystopian tale though? Dystopia is defined as a world which is completely opposite of the ‘perfect world’. It is a community/society that is undesirable or frightening. The story of this show does seem to be frightening and even undesirable, as far the trailer goes.
Before we take a plunge to discuss more, take a look at Ghoul trailer:
Digging deeper, let’s also understand the dictionary meaning of the word ghoul itself. It is actually derived from “ghūl“, with its roots in the Arabic and Jinn traditions. Ghoul thus revolves around the Arabic folklore of the myth of jinns. Britannica defines ghoul as “siren-like spirits that wandered the desert, often in the form of beautiful women, waiting to ensnare unsuspecting travelers and eat them. In ancient Arabic folklore, ghūls belonged to a diabolic class of jinn (spirits) and were capable of constantly changing form, but their presence was always recognizable by their unalterable sign—ass’s hooves.”
That’s definitely one of the Ghoul facts most of us were unaware of. And, though no signs of ass’s hooves have been visible in the series trailer so far, the symbolism might come out in the three-episode miniseries (season 1) already released on Netflix.
While promoting the series, the makers also insisted that the story of Ghoul is rooted in India but the collaborative effort is to tell a story which appeals to audiences around the globe. But, how has Ghoul been received so far? What are the reviews on the 3 episodes released?
Reactions on Netflix’s Ghoul
All 3 episodes of Ghoul were released on Netflix on 24th August 2018. Many viewers have shared their reactions and reviews on the Netflix original show.
— Saloni Punatar (@SaloniPunatar) August 24, 2018
Ghoul’s genre is horror but it scares me not with the graphics but with the brilliant portrayal of what a country becomes when it’s pushed towards hyper nationalism.
It is so apt that it almost scares you for the nation’s future.
— Roshan Rai (@RoshanKrRai) August 26, 2018
.@anuragkashyap72 #Ghoul yet again a brave attempt in calling out the disease of faux patriotism gripping India whose victims are dissidents and muslims. Takes a dig at the systemic hatred,militant hyper nationalism and a portrays a dangerous future for India @VikramMotwane
— Arif Ayyub (@arifayyub) August 25, 2018
Many people are bashing GHOUL for not having a lot of scary scenes. Indian audience has this misconception about horror genre that they are all about some creepy ghosts. Sometime horror genre portrait actual horror of extreme Nationalism and religious extremism. #GHOUL pic.twitter.com/36ViDpE86G
— Prince Vij (@Iam_PrinceVij) August 25, 2018
— Gautam Gulati 🇮🇳 (@TheGautamGulati) August 24, 2018
I am watching #Ghoul by Netflix. A few early comments.
1) It’s an Indian Handmaids Tale.
2) Cleverly handled Hindutva majoritarian under current.
3) Netflix is using popular counter narratives to establish its self as a chief content creator in the Indian sub continent.
— Ninad Kharkar (@ninadkharkar) August 24, 2018
What a spooky ride 👀💀
Give it watch
— Mukul Shende (@MuK00I_) August 24, 2018
Disclaimer: I HATE THE HORROR GENRE.
But DAMN!!!! #Ghoul had me biting my nails, I just pray I don’t see things and hear stuff in my sleep.
Job well done! @NetflixIndia @FuhSePhantom @radhika_apte @Manavkaul19 @VikramMotwane #GoWatch #BeAfraid #VeryAfraid pic.twitter.com/EfbWIYWqWZ
— Kubbra Sait (@kubrasait) August 25, 2018
Done With #Ghoul
1st Episode : Good
2nd & 3rd : OutStanding 👌👌
— Sαɠαя🇮🇳 (@iam__Sagar) August 24, 2018
Just watched #Ghoul wow Netflix is killing it!!!!!!
— sanyam (@sanyam009) August 24, 2018
#Ghoul is scary. Not in the oooo bhooot kind. But the real life fmfl kind. Like Orwell’s 1984 happening in India kind.
— Prarthana Sachdev (@prar_sachdev) August 25, 2018
#Ghoul might not be a masterpiece in horror or slasher genre but it’s an important piece of work in today’s India because it is a dangerous reminder of what this India & its people can turn into under the pretext of false & insane love of Nationalism.
— Jay D (@JFilmiDhruv) August 27, 2018
Super scary which will give you nightmares.
— The BBC (@BabaBakChod) August 26, 2018
awestruck as always. @radhika_apte what an actor you are! Strong, confident, natural, fearless. Such a joy watching you every time. Ohhh and, scary too 🙈. #Ghoul @NetflixIndia can’t wait to watch the second season. Weren’t 3 episodes too less???
— Bhagat Vachhaney (@vachhaneyb) August 29, 2018
3 hours of clenching my fists and shouting oh my god every 5 minutes.
Well, I’m talking about watching #Ghoul. 😉
What an intense psychological horror thriller. @NetflixIndia Kudos! For showcasing such an amazing series after #SacredGames.@radhika_apte @Manavkaul19 Take a bow.🙌
— Komal Gattani 🌸 (@komal_gattani) August 27, 2018
Just finished watching Ghoul. Radhika Apte is so, so awesome!! #Ghoul
— Sidra Aziz (@NamkeenJalebi) August 28, 2018
Holy shit! #Ghoul was amazing. I’m not qualified to speak about how effective a Horror it was, but what a great premise and concept.
Hey @netflix, more Indian dystopian stories please!
— Shah Shahid (@theshahshahid) August 29, 2018
Just watched #Ghoul, so intriguing, gripping and intense. One of the top horror genre I’ve ever seen.
— Sameer Allana (@HitmanCricket) August 27, 2018
I really loved how the series penned out with blood, suspense & horror!@NetflixIndia
— Harshvardhan Agrawal (@Harsh_humour) August 25, 2018
#Ghoul has been watched … was terrified ,yes had nightmares but totally loved it 😝😝😝…. @radhika_apte you are sooooo freaking good …. go watch o🤥it on @NetflixIndia guys if you love love love horror genre like me but at the same time are scared 😧
— Amruta Khanvilkar (@AmrutaOfficial) August 25, 2018
— Rohan (@RohanNaahar) August 24, 2018
Ballsy, creepy, quick paced and unafraid to take on various forms of horror, be it the titular Ghoul or one of India’s present day real terrors as well.
— Dr Roshan R (@pythoroshan) August 24, 2018
This new series is some crazy shit!
suspense + horror + thriller #Ghoul
— SHUBHASHISH AICH (@SHUBHASHISHaich) August 27, 2018
— Anish Mooen-ali (@ItsAnishM) August 28, 2018
Netflix is one of the most gripping and beautifully executed horror series of recent times.
This series can u give some serious goosebumps…. #radhikaapte is love as always… #ghoul — watching Ghoul: Netflix
— Sachin__Batman (@Sachinrathore03) August 27, 2018
Going by the reactions of the viewers and audiences so far, it seems like the horror genre is about to take a turn for the good in the Indian shows. It does genuinely look like Ghoul on Netflix isn’t just a hype but a series that will scare the shit out of you.
Though not conventionally ‘scary’ because of ghosts, spirits, etc, the dystopian/futuristic world shown in Ghoul is thought-provoking. It certainly makes us scared about our future. In a sense, it is scary in the way ‘Black Mirror’ is! Gone are the days of cheap and hilarious graphics that were meant to be scary but only left the audiences in splits. Ghoul manages to scare well and also leave you worried.
Have you watched the show? What’s your reaction?