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Espionage — check. Rom-com — check. Road-trip film — check. Caper — check.

Despite the recent barrage of film releases, it appears that the horror genre remains largely unexplored in this new age of Pakistani cinema. Khalid Hasan Khan's Meera-starring Hotal made some waves at the 3rd Delhi International Film Festival in India earlier this year, but has yet to hit local screens. But we need not wait for Hotal for our horror film fix because the trailer of actor-director-singer Jawad Bashir’s horror film Maya has been released.

The film will launch several first-time actors, including Ahmed Abdul Rehman as Waqas, Rasheed Ali as a priest, Hina Jawad as Maya/Mishal, Zain Afzal as Sam, Sheikh Mohamad Ahmed as Amir and Anum Malik as Rida. Produced by Twister Films, the screenplay has been penned by Hina Jawad who is also playing the lead.

Maya will also serve as a career-diversifying venture for Bashir. The director, who has been a part of the industry for the past two decades, has been associated with comedy-centred shows like Shashlik, Teen Bata Teen and Ulta Seedha to name a few. Now however, he is trying his hand at horror flicks and judging from the trailer, it can be safely said that he is perhaps better off with chuckles and giggles.

The trailer starts off with the hackneyed tale of a group of friends staying in a deserted mansion. The mansion, of course, is situated near a graveyard and it seems that it's our young fellows' idea of fun to desecrate graves. They unleash one 'evil spirit' Maya during the process and what follows is typical of all stranded-to-be-killed films we have seen in the past.

In fact, the film's characters also seem inspired from Hollywood and American television. Maya resembles the famous Japanese Juon the Grudge and has eyes like that of Dean in Supernatural. The filmmakers have added a priest to curb the curse, instead of the usual Maulana sahab.

Given that a good screenplay and creative cinematography couldn't save Siyaah from a poor box office performance, Maya can hardly be expected to haunt the audience.

The film is slated to release this year.