Synopsis: A young mother and her twin sons move into a rural house that’s marked for death.
Release Date: August 21, 2015 MPAA Rating: PG-13
A few years ago, Sinister was the surprise hit of the horror world. Although a sequel could never duplicate that success, if only because the whole concept of the film is expected now, Sinister 2 sure tries. The emphasis, however, is firmly on the “tries.”
Sinister 2 picks up where Sinister left off, with Deputy So & So (James Ransone from Tangerine reprising his role from the first film), now a private investigator, taking it upon himself to track down the cursed houses from the first movie and burn them to the ground, breaking the murderous chain in the process. When he gets to one of the houses that he thinks is deserted, he is surprised to find a woman named Courtney Collins (Shannyn Sossamon from “Wayward Pines” and “Sleepy Hollow”) hiding there with her twin sons, Dylan and Zachary (real life twins Robert Daniel and Dartanian Sloan, both from Dude Bro Party Massacre III), from her abusive husband Clint (J. Edgar‘s Lea Coco). Dylan finds the dreaded box of 8mm home movies from Sinister in the basement of the house and, after being persuaded to watch them by a group of ghostly kids who are under the control of a demon named Bughuul (again portrayed by Nicholas King), starts to plan the filmed murder of his family. Ex-Deputy So & So and Courtney have to figure out a way to save the family from Bughuul’s curse.
Although he wrote the screenplay along with his Sinister co-writer C. Robert Cargill, Scott Derrickson was too busy prepping for the upcoming Doctor Strange to direct Sinister 2, so he turned the reins over to Citadel director Ciarán Foy. The film is in capable hands; Sinister 2 is a very well put-together movie. The problem is that it can be lumped, along with the Carrie and Poltergeist remakes, into a category of modern horror movie that is all sizzle and no steak – there’s lots of cool stuff to look at, but very little story to back it up. Carrie and Poltergeist both have the excuse of being reimaginings of superior previous films; Sinister 2 has the disadvantage of being expected to build upon the mythology of a superior previous film. And again, it tries, but the emphasis is still on the “tries.”
Part of the problem is that there is no Ethan Hawke in Sinister 2. That’s not saying that Hawke’s Ellison Oswalt should return from the grave in Sinister 2, but there really isn’t a powerful lead in the film. Ex-Deputy So & So (yes, he is again never referred to by actual name) is likeable enough, and Courtney and the twins are nice sympathetic characters, but the most compelling figure in the film is the leader of the ghost kids, a little creep named Milo (Lucas Jade Zumann from “Sense8”), and he can’t carry the whole movie. This lack of identification is a big part of what keeps Sinister 2 from being as good as Sinister.
Sinister 2 had an uphill battle to fight right from its inception. Sinister‘s concept was so original and its execution was so creative that almost any sequel was doomed to failure. Sure, Sinister 2 is but a shell of what Sinister was, thanks mostly to its two-dimensional characters and its contrived storyline, but even if it had the greatest cast and script in the world, it would still be inferior to the first film, just because it wasn’t the first film.
One thing that can be said about Sinister 2 is that it’s scary. Many of the scares are cheap jump-scares, set up more by eerie set decoration and slick editing than actual fear-inducing circumstances, but it takes what it can get. The figure of Bughuul himself is absolutely horrifying, and he provides more than his share of scares in the same way that he did in the first film: by popping up suddenly everywhere and anywhere, whether it’s in reflections and shadows or in photos and on computer screens. He’s an imposing figure, and he imposes himself on the viewer at will. And it’s terrifying.
Another element of Sinister 2 that is scary is the actual 8mm home movies that Dylan and the ghost kids watch. They’re choppy, dirty, and disturbing, and the murders are so horrendous that they make the lawn mower segment from Sinister look like amateur hour. Not only are the home movies the most frightening parts of Sinister 2, but they’re also the strongest aspects of the film as a whole. The faux-snuff films are reason enough to see Sinister 2.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): Ciarán Foy
- Producer(s): Jason BlumScott DericksonBrian Kavanaugh-Jones
- Screenwriter(s): Scott DerricksonC. Robert Cargill
- Cast: James Ransone (Ex-Deputy So & So)Shannyn Sossamon (Courtney Collins)Robert Daniel Sloan (Dylan Collins) Dartanian Sloan (Zach Collins)Lea Coco (Clint Collins)Tate Ellington (Dr. Stromberg)John Beasley (Father Rodriguez)Lucas Jade Zumann (Milo)Jaden Klein (Ted)Laila Haley (Emma)Caden M. Fritz (Peter)Nicholas King (Bughuul)
- Editor(s): Timothy Alverson
- Cinematographer: Amy Vincent
- Production Designer(s):
- Costume Designer: Stephani Lewis
- Casting Director(s): Joan PhiloClaire SimonTerri Taylor
- Music Score: tomandandy
- Music Performed By:
- Country Of Origin: USA