TUMBBAD (2018) Reviews and overview

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Tumbbad is a 2018 Indian supernatural horror fantasy feature film co-directed by Rahi Anil Barve and Adesh Prasad, plus creative director Anand Gandhi, from a screenplay co-written with Mitesh Shah. The movie stars Sohum Shah, Ronjini Chakraborty, Anita Date, Dhundiraj Prabhakar Jogalekar and Harish Khannaa.


India, 1918, on the outskirts of a decrepit village called Tumbbad: Vinayak, the stubborn, conniving illegitimate son of the village lord, is obsessed with a mythical ancestral treasure. He suspects the secret lies with his great-grandmother, a cursed witch sleeping for centuries.

Confronting her finally puts him face to face with the guardian of the treasure, an evil fallen god. What starts with a few gold coins, quickly spirals into a reckless, perpetual yearning, spanning decades. Vinayak’s greed keeps escalating until he unearths the biggest secret of all, something more valuable than the treasure itself…


“While it could use a little tightening in terms of its story, Tumbbad is a haunting and timeless exploration of just how badly greed can corrupt any of us […] Tumbbad is pure classic horror through and through, its finale is ambitiously crazy, and in some ways, it reminded me of The Descent meets The Evil Dead.” Daily Dead

Tumbbad plays like a surreal drama — the principal sensation is dread, a coiled unease that you feel in the innards. The comparison you reach for isn’t The Conjuring, but something like Don’t Look Now or Lost Highway […] It may not be too much of a stretch to say that, instead of a haunted house, Tumbbad is about a haunted nation, possessed not by the devil but by the past.” Film Companion

Tumbbad is an incredibly gorgeous fantasy horror movie from India. It’s a brilliant and intense dark adventure with an important moral […] Tumbbad is pure horror from the very beginning. At the same time, it also feels like a fairytale. But the very dark and gruesome kind. Much more along the lines of Pan’s Labyrinth or Evil Dead than any Disney version.” Heaven of Horror

Tumbbad is everything you want out of a movie. It’s emotionally resonant (most prominently in the father/son relationship of the film’s third act). It’s a visual masterpiece. It’s absolutely terrifying, harrowing, gut-wrenching and most of all – touching.” Horrorscreams Videovault

…Tumbbad portrays the excitement but also the futile avidity, the hero’s trials but also his full responsibility in the unleashing of evil – and not merely as an implied, perfunctory obligation. In truth, once you strip away the monsters and the rituals and the caves, the entire second half of the film could be read as direct indictment of a man’s tragic hubris.” IonCinema


Tumbbad follows the plot points of all folklore, fully welcoming in the darkness inherent in the story. The characters are human to a flaw, and that weakness takes them on a dark journey into inescapable horror. It’s a brilliant and authentically crafted story. A tale as old as time, with suspense to hollow out your mind.” Nightmare on Film Street

“This story of a greed that stretches of eons and the way that it transforms and destroys the family burdened with it is a wonderfully fresh take on horror from a region whose cinematic history with the genre is checkered at best […] A slow burn whose finale is wonderfully unexpected and yet fitting, Tumbbad is a great film and hopefully the start of a new trend in India.” Screen Anarchy

“It not only manages to turn the evils of unrestrained greed into a physical horror but draws parallels between that and the British colonial rule of India. Much the way Pan’s Labyrinth weaved the realities of Franco’s Spain into its dark fantasy, so does Tumbbad draw parallels between the stories of its characters and the events of their time. Not getting that connection won’t ruin your enjoyment of the film, however. Tumbbad is a film that deserves to be seen.” Voices from the Balcony


“I’m sure I lost some of the details in translation and the multiple time jumps, but I was captivated enough to stick with Tumbbad. By the time The Goddess’s Womb is revealed, it’s an engrossing mythology. There’s certainly a moral there about greed. I mean, how badly do you need money to sneak into a monster’s cave?” We Live Entertainment

Running time:

109 minutes


Tumbbad has been shown at a number of international festivals, such as the Venice Film Festival, and was released in India on 12 October 2018.


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