‘Ragini MMS’ Is Spooky Enough

May 13, 2011 4:15 pm by

Director: Pavan Kripalani
Cast: Kainaz Motivala, Raj Kumar Yadav
Rating: ★★★☆☆

We say we watched it, but we must confess that for a large part of Ragini MMS, our hands were covering our eyes. There were loose bits and the ending is most unsatisfactory, leaving too many unanswered questions, but credit must be given to director Pavan Kripalani for the casting and creating a film that gets your heart racing. There are plenty of cliches in this film but they’re used smartly and all of it comes together to enhance the spirited performances by the two lead actors in Ragini MMS.

Uday (Raj Kumar Yadav) takes his girlfriend Ragini (Kainaz Motivala) off for a dirty weekend to a remote, ramshackle and deserted house in the middle of nowhere. Even though the uncouth Uday bosses her around, Ragini tolerates and trusts him. She is unaware of Uday’s ulterior motive: he has rigged the house with cameras to make a sex tape and secure himself a job in the film industry. (The film doesn’t explain what job he was hoping to get with a sex tape.) Most of the film is from the point of view of Uday’s video camera. The jerky, handheld photography takes some getting used to. Cinematographer Tribhuvan Babu’s work goes a long way in creating the mood on this adventure. The shaky camerawork and  the fact that the house is rigged for voyeurism help create the eerie ambience.

The opening 10 minutes are nicely and tightly edited by Pooja Ladha Surti. Ragini MMS revolves around Uday and Ragini. The weekend starts off with excitement and promise, and ends up as a gruesome nightmare. In the confines of one house, with two characters trapped first by their foolishness and then by a ghostly presence in the house, the film is scary enough to keep you at the edge of your seat.

But there are some unnecessary scenes, like when two friends drop by and drink beer with the couple, or the endless scenes of Uday taping a coy Ragini. The two friends are such bad actors that going by horror movie formula, you know they are going to be the first to face the ghostly presence. Quite clearly inspired by Paranormal Activity, Ragini MMS sticks close to the structure of a horror movie—introducing you to the characters, creating an eerie environment, sudden sounds, banging doors, the revelation of the sinister presence, shocking violence, background music to build suspense etc. You really do feel for Ragini as she lies helpless in that house, though one must question the sanity of running into the jungle at night and hiding in a ruin.

Two slides at the end of the film tell you what happened to Ragini and the MMS. They played out so fast that it was impossible to read them. Not really knowing how the events get resolved is very frustrating, but that should not deter fans of horror-supernatural films. There’re plenty of creaking floorboards, deep breathing, shadows and screams in this film and they have their desired effect.