Ragini MMS 2 proves, in no particular order of importance, that it’s a bad idea to replace the director of a smart movie for the sequel, Sunny Leone doesn’t yet possess the abilities to make the transition from pornographic heart-throb to Hindi movie star, Parvin Dabas, Sandhya Mridul and Karan Mehra are great hams and greater sports, and dialogue writer Ishita Moitra is still in wicked form after Mere Dad Ki Maruti.

Leone plays herself—an entertainer in search of an image makeover—who lands the lead role of a movie being made on the Ragini episode. This film within a film business is one of the laziest storytelling devices around, but it gives Ragini MMS 2 its moments of sheer fun. The movie claims to be “horex" (a mixture of horror and sex) but is actually “ho-hum" (horror and humour). Dabas’s lascivious director, Mridul’s desperate starlet and Mehra’s self-obsessed television star rise to the occasion magnificently and make the film’s random tonal shifts from frights to giggles tolerable, but they can’t compensate for the general lack of fresh ideas all around.

The sequel claims to provide a back story to the actions of the evil spirit that killed Ragini’s boyfriend in the first part and relegated her to an asylum, but director Bhushan Patel and his production team aim for nothing more than cheap thrills. Leone’s adult film background is milked within permissible limits in a handful of scenes—she invariably hears strange noises while dressed in a negligee; she has her bathing moments—while the truly tacky computer graphics, make-up and production design belong on television. Since nobody in the production is interested in genuinely frightening viewers, just about the scariest thing in this 119-minute drag is the threat of Part 3.

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