The cosmic silliness of Ragini MMS keeps it from being as loathsome as it might have been. Which means it is just too stupid to take seriously enough to be offended by it. Mind you, the movie boasts three distinct gimmicks — not only does it take place in real time, it purports to have been based on a true story and shot on digital cameras. Needless to say it promises more than it delivers.
Unintentional laughs aside, Ragini MMS is a gigantic, rubbery wad of badness — it is just another derivative, unpleasant exercise in clichés being passed off as horror. The story is simple enough — a young couple, Uday (Yadav) and Ragini (Motivala) plan to get jiggy with it at an old farmhouse, but when night falls things take a turn for the creepy, and the duo are forced to dart from one dark room to another, running from an unseen, malevolent female presence. And the clichés arrive by the truckload, with the endless parade of candy-floss ominous noises, creaks, shadows and camera-fits.
An avalanche of problems ensues the moment Kripalani serves up his idiotic rug-pulling reveal in the second half, something that promptly undermines everything we have been party to thus far by turning the film into a sub-Ramsay Bros cheese fest. Who is this ghost and why is she disturbing a couple’s night of nookie? Will we find out? Worry not, since Kripalani never fails to assume his audience is mentally challenged.
At the midsection Kripalani stops bothering with a new story and simply makes Paranormal Activity all over again — with lesser setup and fewer frills. Oh wait, but it is new, you see, because instead of an obnoxious American mansion, we have an obnoxious Indian bhoot bungla, and instead of a petrified baby, we have a petrified babe. And this time, instead of our leads being egged on by a seemingly spiteful spirit, they are exhorted by the advances of an eye-popping Marathi-speaking pataka of an art-school model in a saree. Creative, is it not?
It's never too early for Ragini MMS to make that wholesome connection between sex and horror. The first 20 minutes or so are filled with pre-horror foreplay, er, I mean plot, on feeble character development and numbingly unsubtle imagery and dialogue to spell things out. No prizes are offered for guessing the big twist about the association of the cameras with one of the central characters.
On the bright side, both Yadav and Motivala are superbly cast. Motivala seems to have paid close attention to Manuela Velasco in the Spanish horror masterpiece ‘REC’. Yes, there are a couple of creepy moments, but Ragini MMS is never terrifying. Worse, it ends with a silly twist that's much more likely to raise eyebrows than goosebumps. Budget limitations are no excuse for sloppy, nonsensical writing, for as busy as this movie is, you'd think it would have more going on.
Ragini MMS might have chutzpah, but sadly it doesn't have any interest in actually scaring us with something original. The film is driven only by contempt — it wants to nauseate us into submission. If this sounds like your cup of crud — and you know who you are — you probably won't be disappointed.
First published in DNA