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Not that it was very difficult to make anything better than the first in this series, yet, this one came as a pleasant shock. Because I actually jittered and for once, could identify with the nervous laughter and shrieks from the audience. Yet, loose writing doesn't make it a satisfying horror.
I don't remember the last time I walked out of a theater and felt like I've left a different world behind. Not a world that I want to go back into any time soon, but that's not because of the quality of what I saw in there, it's the shocked and the fright my insides felt. It might have accentuated because somewhere, deep down I was expecting to watch an unintentional comedy. To my credit it was absolutely justified. But this one turned out to be a chiller. So, what if there was zero-thought in its story. Oh, by the way, the film is not directed by Ram Gopal Varma. Just saying.
Phoonk 2 creates a lot of shrieks, if not out loud from the audience, at least a jerk or a shudder every once in a while. And this is all on the basis of the camerawork, sound design (though almost always, it's on the louder side), make-up and taking the suspense to an almost intolerable high. Though in a large chunk of the first half, the thrill peaks got very annoying. Later, as you get used to it and the movie moves forward inch by inch you get sucked into the drama.
The writing, characterisations, and worse of all - continuity are all way beyond comprehension. The first half is used to establish that each of the characters is scared to the last nerve by an unknown and they sense something spooky doing the rounds. The second half has all these characters either getting beaten up or killed brutally by this unknown.
Yes, it scares you. Not because you care for the protagonist and his family. But more because the unknown creates a completely suffocating environment. And maybe that is the film's success.
But there are way too many things left loose. And here I'm not complaining about stuff that remains unexplained. I didn't let the 'why's bother me. For example, I very forcefully ignored the omnipresent, evil spirit's graciousness in allowing characters to mourn the dead for the longest time.
It's the 'how's that became too distracting. Like, can the said unknown scary unknown, with the said powers be at the same place twice? There are jerks in continuity like day turning into night and vice versa with no logical flow. And I'm one of those who didn't have a problem with the dark climax. In fact, it was very Harry Potterish.
Of course, the movie wouldn't have had half the impact had the performances not been to the mark. Except for the overacting exorcists, the rest of the cast did a decent enough job of getting scared and thus scaring us.
A lot of what worked for the film is because of the make-up department and the cinematographer doing an awesome job. Phoonk 2 had me in a 'job to get done' mode before it started. That turned into cynicism, in the first half hour, with every scene that moved slowly with music reaching its climax every five minutes. And absolutely unexpectedly, it started creating jitters. And that kind of anxiety doesn't give me a kick, which is why horror is by far my least-liked genre. Even so, usually super-natural horror stories don't scare me easily. This one did. I wanted the spirit to go away, because at some level I could identify with the family it was causing such agony to.
If you really like that kind of horror, you could go for it. I doubt a DVD watch will do justice to the cinematography. If like me, getting terrorized - by the dead or alive - is not your idea of cinema, the IPL is still on, not only on the sports channels but on the news channels too!
- meetu, a part of the audience