India. The not-distant future. A religious civil war is brewing, the government is cracking down on fundamentalists with lethal force, and mysterious cults are performing obscene rituals in the darkest corners of the subcontinent. Nida Rahim (Radhika Apte) is a military recruit who turns in her own father for his extremist ideas. Having proven her loyalty, and burned every possible bridge in her personal life doing so, Nida becomes a prime asset for the Indian government to assign to a blacksite facility as an interrogator. Her first subject: Ali Saeed (Mahesh Balraj), a charismatic cult leader and sociopath who seems to be in contact with something malevolent on the other side of the veil.
Netflix’s Ghoul is a grim, psychological cat-and-mouse game that is neither for the faint of heart nor for those who enjoy a good night’s sleep. Saeed’s interrogators exhibit all the subtlety and discretion of Guantanamo Bay middle- management, and yet, despite their brutality, the viewer is left with the unsettling feeling that Nida is confronting something entirely out of her league. Nida has twenty-four hours to make Saeed talk—but Saeed already seems to know her secrets, and he is all too eager to share.
Ghoul, directed by Patrick Graham, is only Netflix’s second Hindi-language film, as the ever-growing media outlet sinks its first roots into the foreign-language market. Harsh, well-acted, and with creeping, claustrophobic cinematography, Ghoul leaves its viewers in suspense as to whether Saeed is a human monster, or something more. The Georgetown Independent recommends you watch—with the lights on.