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Times of India
: In a new city living as a paying guest with an unknown family that she is starting to develop a bond with, Mantra is in for a shock when she learns an eerie truth about them.
: Way back in 2007, Charmme had received a great deal of attention for starring in Mantra - a film that gave the suspense thriller genre in Telugu cinema a boost of sorts. Fear and sentimental emotions were paired with interesting characterisations and a gripping storyline that unraveled with finesse.
To lay it on the line, Mantra 2 is bound to draw comparisons with its predecessor which is a big cause of anguish for the makers of this film as they fail to reach its standards both in terms of story and its narration. This is the story of Mantra (Charmme) moves to Hyderabad for a job with a software firm. It's strangely surprising that she finds an old couple in need of a paying guest who take her in no questions asked.
The cliched ingredients of most horror/suspense thriller films - an eerie/mysterious background score (which is lacklusture), a huge bungalow, creaking of doors, creepy looks, long stretches of silence, wind gushing, supernatural happenings and the constant assumption that danger is lurking right behind -is all in place for Mantra 2. Right from the first scene - someone banging on the door at 2 am - to the last - where the door of the bungalow bangs shut as the protagonists manage to exit it, the intention of every scene is to make you cower in fear. But when put together as a whole, Mantra 2 is all about cheap thrills.
The second half that completely unfolds in a bungalow where people are trapped; and someone is bound to die. A hackneyed idea that has been explored numerous times in numerous films - that seems a total waste considering the climax of the film. The forced humour in the form of comedian Venu and a gay person add insult to injury.
Remember the song Maha Maha in Mantra? It had become a rage among music lovers and in what seems to be an attempt to replicate it, there's a party song thrown in. But unfortunately, the song only manages to show us that Charmme has lost oodles of weight and looks gorgeous. However, she doesn't give a performance that matches her potential and seems lost in front of her co-star Thanikella Bharani who gives a commendable performance despite being given an unclear and badly written character. Chethan as Vijay, Mantra's friend is sufficient.
While Mantra 2 has its heart in the right place, its heartbeats constantly fluctuate leaving you with an unsatisfying experience.