Review: ‘Love Me If You Dare’ (2024), starring Ashish Reddy and Vaishnavi Chaitanya

June 1, 2024

by Carla Hay

Ashish Reddy and Vaishnavi Chaitanya in “Love Me If You Dare” (Photo courtesy of Dil Raju Productions)

“Love Me If You Dare”

Directed by Arun Bhimavarapu

Telugu with subtitles

Culture Representation: Taking place in India, the dramatic film “Love Me If You Dare” features an all-Indian cast of characters representing the working-class and middle-class.

Culture Clash: A YouTuber believes he has been talking to the ghost of a woman with a scandalous past, and he tries to solve the mystery with the help of two of his close friends.  

Culture Audience: “Love Me If You Dare” will appeal primarily to people who don’t mind watching overly long, nonsensical movies about supernatural love stories.

Ashish Reddy in “Love Me If You Dare” (Photo courtesy of Dil Raju Productions)

The title of “Love Me If You Dare” should be “Watch This Garbage If You Dare to Kill Some of Your Brain Cells.” This is a bloated, incoherent drama about a man who falls in love with a ghost woman who hides behind a veil. The acting is also terrible. During the course of this 128-minute mess of a movie, he tries to find out more about who this ghost really is and documents his investigation on his YouTube channel. When the answer to the mystery is revealed, it’s an insult to viewers’ intelligence and still doesn’t explain all the story’s plot holes and unanswered questions.

Written and directed by Arun Bhimavarapu, “Love Me If You Dare” (which is also titled “Love Me” in some countries) takes place in an unnamed city in India. The movie begins with an unseen woman asking in a voiceover, “Have you ever heard of a man who fell in love with a ghost?” The narrator soon claims that she is the daughter of a woman named Divyavathi, who had a tragic death an unnamed number of years ago. People in the community still talk about this death years later amid stories that the ghost of Divyavathi could still be haunting the area.

Divyavathi (played by Samyuktha Menon) lived in a small unnamed village with her husband of six years and their daughter, who was about 4 or 5 years old when Divyavathi died. The strange thing about Divyavathi was that she was never seen outside of the house. And if she was ever seen by anyone who didn’t live in the house, Divyavathi would always hide her face by wearing a veil. Another bizarre thing about their household was that an alarm clock could be heard ringing in the house every night at 8 o’clock.

One night, the alarm didn’t ring, and Divyavathi walked out of the house. It was the first time she was seen outside the house in six years. But when Divyavathi walked out of the house that night, her entire body was engulfed in flames. She collapsed and died in the town square. What happened to Divyavathi’s daughter? That answer is eventually revealed in the movie, although at one point it becomes pretty obvious what the reveal is going to be.

Years later, a popular YouTuber named Arjun (played by Ashish Reddy), who has at least 1 million subscribers, tells his best friends Prathap (played by Ravi Krishna) and Priya (played by Vaishnavi Chaitanya) that he is starting to fall in love with a woman he has been talking to for an unspecified period of time. Prathap and Priya are dating each other and have been together for an unspecified period of time. Arjun only sees this woman in an abandoned building that’s near a graveyard.

Arjun confesses that he has never seen this woman’s face because she always wears a red veil during their meet-ups. She won’t let Arjun see her face when he asks her to lift the veil. Arjun starts to wonder if he’s talking to the ghost of Divyavathi, based on some things that this woman has said to him. No one in the story really questions how stupid Arjun looks for not even trying to get this woman’s name. Arjun becomes obsessed with this mystery woman and wants to spend as much of his free time with her as possible.

The rest of the movie (which has very choppy editing) is just a jumbled hodgepodge of Arjun investigating this mystery, making videos about it on his YouTube channel, and getting some help in the “investigation” from Prathap and Priya. Arjun also has visions that this ghost woman could be dangerous. There are multiple scenes of Arjun digging up graves and holding skulls from these graves to inspect the skulls.

A forensic artist later does face reconstructions of these skulls. Don’t expect the movie to explain why, except for some plot nonsense about four missing women: 19-year-old Pallavi, 22-year-old Noor, 24-year-old Charishma and 19-year-old Vennela. The unseen female narrator says that she’s one of these missing women.

As time goes on, Priya and Arjun spend more and more time together. Priya looks like she’s becoming very fond of Arjun, as Prathap starts to fade in and out of the story. Is this going to turn into a love triangle? “Love Me If You Dare” has a weird and clumsy mix of wanting to be like a soap opera romance but also a Gothic-inspired horror story. By the time this abysmal movie reveals the story’s “big secret” near the end, most viewers just won’t care anymore—assuming that they watched this junk until the very unsatisfying ending.

Dil Raju Productions released “Love Me If You Dare” in select U.S. cinemas on May 24, 2024. The movie was released in India on May 25, 2024.

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