Ramgopal Varma's love for horror and supernatural continues. This time, in PHOONK 2, the team behind PHOONK promise more chills, more thrills and more screams. But what you get to hear at the end of the screening is a moan, since PHOONK 2 lacks the chills, thrills and screams that were the mainstay of its first part.
A sequel works if it goes one step ahead of the first part, in terms of content mainly. But PHOONK 2 doesn't take a step forward, but a step backwards. So what's the problem? Let's get into the introspection mode...
The problem is, what does the viewer expect from PHOONK 2? More terrifying and scary moments, right? But PHOONK 2 comes across as one of those usual revenge films, which tries so hard to create an eerie atmosphere, but never succeeds. It's more of a slasher film actually!
The problem is, the pace of PHOONK 2 is excruciatingly slow, which just doesn't work for a horror film. The story unravels at a snail's pace and with hardly any terrifying/eerie moments in those two hours, the film falls flat on its face.
The problem is, PHOONK 2 fails in its writing. The idea is a master stroke and had writer turned director Milind Gadagkar handled it right, PHOONK 2 would've scared the daylights out of you. But the film looks incomplete and the viewer keeps wondering, where did the spirit disappear?
Final word? PHOONK 2 lacks the grip of PHOONK. A complete letdown!
PHOONK ends with the killing of Madhu [Ashwini Kalsekar], the woman who casts a black magic spell on Rajiv's [Sudeep] daughter Raksha [Ahsaas Channa]. PHOONK 2 begins with Madhu's ghost returning from the grave to seek revenge on the family.
Rajiv moves with his family to a new place. Raksha and her brother Rohan begin exploring the new place and the surroundings -- the lonely beach and then the woods behind the house. The terror begins with Raksha and Rohan finding a doll in the woods and then it progresses to a series of highly traumatizing experiences for the whole family.
Manja [Zakir Hussain], the only man whom Rajiv could turn to, meets a gruesome death at the hands of Madhu's ghost. Madhu seeks revenge on Rajiv by torturing his loved ones -- his wife Aarti [Amruta Khanvilkar] and their children, Raksha and Rohan -- in unimaginably cruel ways.
Debutante director Milind Gadagkar uses every trick in the book to make PHOONK 2 work - night shots, secluded bungalow, eerie silence, captivating sound design and zany camera angles. Gadagkar does everything right, but conveniently forgets that any film, irrespective of its genre, works if the story is captivating and moves constantly. In this case, the story just doesn't move in the first hour, except towards the interval point.
The post-interval portions show some movement, but a number of questions remain unanswered. What do Amit Sadh and Neeru see in the jungles that they start running helter-skelter? Also, if the spirit could enter a body [in this case, the wife's], where does it disappear when the wife falls off the terrace towards the end? Ideally, you expect the spirit to come face to face and battle it out with the already cornered Sudeep and his two kids. But the spirit doesn't!
Gadagkar had a brilliant idea, but he fails to translate it well on celluloid. To make matters worse, the film just doesn't scare you one bit. The sound design is right, while the movement of the camera reminds you so much of RGV-directed movies.
Sudeep does a fairly okay job. Amruta Khanvilkar is expressive enough. The kids, Ahsaas and the kid playing her brother - are efficient. Neeru and Amit Sadh don't get much scope. Ashwini Kalsekar is hardly there. Ganesh Yadav, Zakir Hussain and Jeeva make brief appearances. Anu Ansari is okay.
On the whole, PHOONK 2 is a good idea gone horribly wrong. Disappointing!