Our Honeymoon trip approaches, but there’s still time for a few more Reviews… (if only this wee lady can get herself properly motivated that is 😉 ) … and this time out it’s off to India for a look at the Bollywood sexploitation/ horror film “Ragini MMS 2”, sequel to the original “found footage horror” effort of 2011 which your Favorite Catgirl already reviewed HERE. The original was a somewhat surprising hit at the box office with it’s scandalous premise and it was inevitable that there would be a sequel somewhere down the line. Well, now it’s finally here, and starring Canadian born porn film starlet Sunny Leone… probably cast more for her scandalous reputation than anything else, but will even that help this sequel sink or swim? Guess we’ll find out, eh? 😉
Our synopsis goes along these lines: “In the summer of 2011, a couple’s dirty weekend turned into their worst nightmare as an MMS attempt of their most private moments, went horribly wrong. Unimaginable & inexplicable things began to happen and they found themselves at the mercy of forces beyond the realm of understanding, This was the “Ragini MMS Scandal”. Now, 2 years later a young enthusiastic crew and an over-the-top film director re-visit this farmhouse in a bid to make a film on this shocking yet sexy MMS Scandal. The film top-lines adult film star Sunny Leone, who is playing herself in this “film-within a-film”. As destiny would have it, the unassuming crew is led onto finding the horrors that inhabit the house. As strange and creepy things begin to befall them they realize there’s no return from here – THEY ARE TRAPPED! The only way to escape is to destroy the evil spirits for which they need to unearth the back story of the house… only to release a bigger, untold truth!”
Ummmm? I have to admit, I was a bit on the fence about watching this one, especially given the somewhat shabby way our heroine Ragini was treated in the original, and porn films really aren’t this lady’s cup of tea… but then Hindi films always tease more than revel in such trappings, so there’s really no way to know for certain what’s in store without just taking a deep breath, wishing for some luck from the “Movie Faeries” and just going for it…. and Hindi DVD’s are soooo inexpensive!! So, if risque sexploitative films work for you, then just scamper along with this Catgirl and we’ll see what potentially naughty Hindi thrills and chills are here to be had, shall we? 😉
So… given this wee Catgirl’s aversion to the somewhat misogynistic way Hindi film can sometimes treat women characters, I originally had a somewhat uneasy feeling about even giving this film a look-see. The addition of porn starlet Sunny Leone to the cast didn’t exactly thrill me either. But…. then I remembered my surprise at Japanese AV star Sora Aoi in “Big Tits Zombie”…. who turned out to be both refreshingly likeable as well as not a bad little actress when all was said and done. Could Miss Leone also turn out to be such a “diamond-in-the-rough”? Ok… Ok… curious lil’ me just had to know. One quick internet search later and a copy of the film was mine.
So the plot of this one gets going with a clever notion… let’s assume that the first “Ragini MMS” was real and leaked to Youtube or something like that. Naturally somebody would want to cash in on something as exploitatively titillating as a ghostly sex scandal that ends in multiple murder and madness. Enter sleazy failing exploitation film director Rocks (played by Parvin Dabas) looking for that project that will make him both rich and famous, finally scoring himself the respect he’s ached for throughout his career. He announces a film fictionalization of the Ragini story and to really ramp up the hype, signs porn starlet Sunny Leone (playing herself) to fill the roll of Ragini. Cue the big media intro and perquisite Bollywood sexy dance sequence!!
Miss Leone immediately grabs your attention… and much of the film revolves crucially around her. Luckily… and thankfully… she’s actually up for the challenge. The whole idea of her professional life as a porn star is actually important to the story… not just there to titillate and lure in an audience hoping for some naughty action to unfold. The plot portrays her as a very real, very professional woman, with a strong sense of self and unashamed of what is a fairly unacceptable profession by Hindi standards. Many opportunities pop up for the usual “macho” Bollywood masculine attempts to conquer such a “loose’ woman, only to have her turn the tables on them and show a surprising strength of character. Good for her!! If Sunny is really anything like the characterization of herself shown here, then she’s a remarkable person indeed. At the very least… I have to admit, it turns out she’s a reasonably talented actress who is definitely more than just someone who could just be marginalized or dismissed by her choice of profession.
So… anyway… once she’s on board for our story the film shifts to it’s other big exploitative draw, and that would be director Rock’s idea to film his “true story” at the actual haunted bungalow where the tragedy took place. Ummm… wait a moment… that sounds kind of dumb…. but since when has that ever stopped somebody in one of these sorts of horror stories? 🙂
Sunny, aware that she’s mostly here to draw a curious audience with her scandalous reputation, wants this to be a real serious attempt to do justice to Ragini and her tragic story. So it’s off to the asylum for a visit with poor crazy Ragini (played by Kainaz Motivala, reprising her role from the earlier film) to give Sunny the inspiration she feels necessary to give a proper performance. Nice idea… with terrible results. Ragini you see is still being haunted by the spirit of the witch from the first movie, and once Sunny visits her, the ghost decides to shift her attentions to Miss Leone, possessing her quietly and awaiting it’s chance to visit revenge and terror on the film crew once they all reach the bungalow. Damn…. you just had to see that coming, didn’t you?
Now this is a Hindi film… so along with being a musical it also has to be a romance story too… and that would require a hunky guy to woo Miss Leone so we get a brooding handsome scriptwriter named Satya (played by Saahil Prem) to fit the bill. He starts off with a big preconceived idea about Sunny as being a big slutty bimbo and definitely doesn’t want anything to do with her, but slowly comes to see her as a real person and someone he can respect as an artist trying to be more than just a sex symbol. There’s that smoldering desire that all these Hindi films like as the two of them pussyfoot around each other trying hard not to admit the attraction they feel and the chemistry here works, at least it did for me, without ending up feeling cheap or forced in any way. Another nice surprise.
The story picks up pretty quickly, as the cast and crew of our film slowly get haunted one by one, and killed off, each in some grisly way at the hands of our possessed heroine. While all this stuff is happening, there’s a side plot involving a psychiatrist, Dr. Meera Dutta (played by Divya Dutta) , who is one of those sciency people who love investigating paranormal stuff. You all know the type…. She takes up Ragini’s case and after going through all the old news clippings and video tapes of Ragini, she’s the one who finally finds out the real truth behind the haunting. Too bad it’s not in time to save Ragini herself, who dies by stabbing herself to death with that creepy rattle from the first film…
Turns out the ghost wasn’t a witch… just a married woman with two daughters and a son who dies after falling down a well. She goes all crazy with grief and tries to figure out a way to resurrect him from the dead. That leads her to fall under the influence of an evil Tantric priest who claimed to perform black magic. He sacrifices her two daughters by chopping off their heads, and then… with the angry villagers beating down the doors… he puts the murder weapon in her hands and makes his escape. The villagers… believing her guilty of the killings and the practice of witchcraft… punish her by hanging her from a tree, stoning her, and burning her alive. Somehow… she survives all that long enough to curse them all and then commit suicide by stabbing herself in the neck with the rattle-toy her son used to play with. Just like she said in the first movie… “I am not a witch…. I did not kill my children… This is my home…. I will never leave….”
Naturally by the time bright Dr. Meera figures this all out, poor Sunny, possessed by the spirit, has already killed most everybody by either luring them into having sex or killing them after catching them by surprise when they are all alone and is soooo soooo darn close to killing Satya too. She rushes to the bungalow just in time for our big Exorcist inspired climax. Will Dr. Meera save the day? Will Sunny get “un-possessed”? Will she and hunky Satya get beyond her sordid reputation and get together? Guess you’ll have to watch the movie and find out… 😉
I have to say, all-in-all I was very pleasantly surprised by this one. It’s actually a much better film than it needed to be to make money. It’s simple… uncomplicated… a wee bit naughty at times, but fairly restrained and modest given the material. The acting is good, especially Miss Leone as our heroine. She’s shown throughout as a very sympathetic, smart, and spunky woman. She does much of her dialog in English of course, but also speaks excellent Hindi as well. She’ll probably never dethrone Meryl Streep as an actress, but “Ragini MMS 2” is definitely a film she can be proud to have taken a role in. Heck… it’ll probably be the only film of hers this wee Catgirl will ever watch, unless she sees fit to continue her mainstream career….
With that, I give “Ragini MMS 2” a very respectable 3 “Meows” out of 5. It’s available on a reasonably priced Hindi All Region disc in widescreen letterboxed format with those excellent English subs we’ve all come to expect on big budget Hindi discs. So, if Bollywood horror is one your favorites list, picking up a copy is a no-brainer. 😉
Yep… there’s a Trailer and, if you are as goofy for ghost stories as a certain Catgirl, then by now you are probably more than a wee bit curious to see it for yourselves, so here goes! 😉