Cast: Manoj Bajpayee, Jacqueline Fernandez
Director: Shirish Kunder
There are bad films. There are films which are so bad that they are good. Then, there’s Mrs Serial Killer that makes you wonder if it needs to exist in the first place.
Everything about this Netflix film is so insipid that you can only compliment it only by erasing the memory of having seen it. Written and directed by Shirish Kunder, the Netflix original has Jacqueline Fernandez and Manoj Bajpayee in lead roles, with Mohit Raina and Zayn Marie playing important roles.
Jacqueline plays Shona, the wife of a prominent doctor who’s accused of being a serial killer, turns into a serial killer herself to prove her husband’s innocence. If there are any hopes that Mrs Serial Killer will spring a surprise on you by turning itself into a dark comedy, Shirish Kunder kills that dash of hope quite early in the story. The film begins with Shona telling another woman (Zayn Marie) that she’s yet to reveal the full extent of the torture that she’ll be subjected to. This is the first warning signal to the viewer because Jacqueline and Shirish Kunder fulfil the promise almost immediately.
The narrative shifts to a flashback where Shona tells her husband, Mrityunjoy (Manoj Bajpayee), a prominent gynaecologist in Uttarakhand, that she’s pregnant. The couple want to celebrate the news together, but even before Mrityunjoy meets her, he’s arrested by the police officials, who accuse him of murdering several young women. Imran (Mohit Raina), a police inspector, leads the investigation and we are told that Imran and Shona were in a relationship in the past. The rest of the story is about how Shona takes the help of another prominent lawyer, a friend of her husband’s, to prove Mrityunjoy’s innocence.
It takes a great deal of talent to turn a story into an unbearable mess, but Shirish Kunder makes it look so easy. There’s no other explanation for why there’s not a single redeeming thing about Mrs Serial Killer. Starting from the film’s screenplay to the casting, from its humour to its drama, everything about the film feels like it was meant to kill any interest that people had in the drama, if any.
The venerable Manoj Bajpayee looks hopeless in the film, and one can only hope that his purpose behind being part of this film was fulfilled in one form or another. Then, there’s Jacqueline Fernandez, who made her digital debut with this film (her earlier Netflix film Drive was meant to have a theatrical release, initially). At one point in the film, it feels like she’s auditioning for the role through TikTok and not playing a role in an actual movie. One wonders if maybe she thought with this film she was expanding her horizons, that it was giving her ‘plenty of scope for performance’, which has comedy, dark comedy, romance, mystery, drama and sentiment. Clearly, she was misled, and by taking it too seriously, Jacqueline turns Mrs Serial Killer into a meme-worthy film. A large part of the credit goes to writer and director Shirish Kunder, who is clearly unapologetic about the tone of the film, even when it turns bizarre and irrevocably bad. All actors are so self-aware of what they are doing that they ham it up. The whole drama feels like a parody.
The film’s final act, in particular, is a treasure trove of terrible writing and acting, and Jacqueline bears the brunt of it for the most part. Incidentally, this is the only segment in the film which leaves the turf wide open for Manoj Bajpayee to weave his magic, but the result is cringe-worthy at best. The only surprising element in the film is that after all the inexplicably bad stuff it throws at us, Shirish Kunder leaves a hint that there could be a sequel. If that isn’t the biggest jaw-dropping moment in the film, then I don’t know what is.
Perhaps, it’s a crime to expect any better from a film where the opening sequence hints about the ‘torture that’s going to follow’, but it does achieve its goal. Mrs Serial Killer is a major disappointment from Netflix India’s series of originals and it’s proof that no matter how much branding and A-list actors you bring onboard, some films are beyond repair. Now, that’s the biggest crime of this crime-thriller.
The Mrs Serial Killer review is a Silverscreen original article. It was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the film. Silverscreen.in and its writers do not have any commercial relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.