Jaan-E-Mann and Joker filmmaker Shirish Kunder has written, directed and edited Mrs. Serial Killer. The background score is by him too, which is probably why he slips it into scenes even when not required.

To build atmosphere, Kunder recruits some of Bollywood’s finest technicians. Cinematography by Ravi K Chandran and Kiran Deohans! Sound by Baylon Fonseca! Production design by Shashank Tere! All the packaging proves to be about as useful and lasting as wrapping paper.

The Netflix original film stars Jacqueline Fernandez as the permanently overwrought and always oomphy Sona. She is a dedicated wife to prominent gynaecologist Mrityunjoy, and her commitment to him does not waver even after he is arrested on suspicion of being a serial killer.

Did Mrityunjoy (Manoj Bajpayee) capture unmarried, pregnant women and eviscerate their bodies in grisly fashion? Has the creepy looking gent with barely concealed menace actually been framed?

Sona is convinced that her former boyfriend, the muscular police officer Imran (Mohit Raina), is the real culprit. When the noose seems to be tightening around Mrityunjoy, Sona and her lawyer Rastogi (Darshan Jariwala) hit upon a plan: to commit a me-too crime so that it will appear that the real murderer is still running about. Sona’s acquaintance Anushka (Zain Marie Khan), who conveniently has a bun in the oven, proves to be a solid candidate for this act of deception.

The biggest spoiler about Mrs. Serial Killer is that it barely expands on the premise contained in the trailer and the official synopsis. The plot is as threadbare as the Uttarakhand town in which the film is set. There are hardly any people about – perhaps the serial killer was more successful than we realised?

The maternity home run by Sona is conveniently empty. The element of dread, which is the basic requirement for even a C-grade serial killer story to work, never enters the frame.

Every scene bursts with hot colours and neon shades, but you can’t extract atmospherics from lighting props. Another way in which Kunder tries to enliven flatlined material is to instruct Jacqueline Fernandez to emote furiously. She is as obedient with her director as with her screen spouse, and she turns out to be the liveliest thing in a movie whose imagination ran out with its catchy title.

Mrs. Serial Killer (2020).