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Short Film Review: Incognito (2022) by Ravi Muppa

A fun Hitchcockian thriller that overcomes its few issues.

A lonely motel receptionist, Gulab (), makes an extra buck by selling the hidden-cam videos of his unsuspecting guests on the internet. But when one such guest turns out to be a young girl named Saloni () who is being trafficked by Bhupesh (), he faces a crisis of conscience.

Overall, there's quite a lot to like with “.” The central setup employed here, with the sleazy motel owner who secretly records the goings-on in the rooms of the facility and uploads the content online, is a rather cliche one. However, that allows for an effective quick-shot character-build that gets the point of who he is across easily and moves this along. That also allows for an enjoyable unraveling of the trafficking storyline to get drawn out with the discovery of the operation taking place. As the videos slowly begin to point him toward the inevitable and obvious conclusion of what's going on, the psychological implications here directing Gulab to action add a suspenseful tone to the second half.

While the setup in general really works, a few minor problems emerge in the process. The first issue is that “Incognito” never establishes a motivation as to why Gulab would want to go through the trouble of helping Saloni. He's introduced as someone secretly recording the exploits and sexual deviances of his customers. That doesn't make any sense as to why he would forgo that kind of free content to save someone, even if Saloni's clearly in the situation against her will. That is a slight issue with this short being so brief and mostly dialog-free, not really opting to spell out what's going on and relying on the action on-screen to portray everything.

That said, overall “Incognito” is a solid and tense thriller that comes off quite well with its familiar premise allowing for an enjoyable suspenseful time. The idea of the short is good enough to like and has some fine factors involved to overcome a couple of slight flaws present, making for a fine feature.

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