By Thomas Simpson
Sinister was a huge hit at the box office and was well received by critics back in 2012. It had its flaws, but it was an atmospheric horror that was at least a step in the right direction for the genre. Credit must be giving to Blumhouse Productions for not churning out another sequel, instead taking time to develop Sinister 2.
James Ransone returns, now credited as Ex-Deputy So and So, having lost his job due to being a suspect in the death of the Oswalts from the first film. Working alone, he makes a connection between gruesome murders, burning the houses down before any new family can inhabit them. Upon arriving at a farmhouse, he finds Courtney (Shannyn Sossamon) and her two sons, Dylan (Robert Daniel Sloan) and Zach (Dartanian Sloan) already living there. It doesn’t take long for the Boogeyman, or Bughuul, to exercise his power and prey on young Dylan in the hopes of corrupting him.
Sinister 2 creates a beautifully macabre atmosphere but unfortunately it isn’t scary. The murder scenes are effective, aided by the Super 8 gaze, giving them a gritty and darker feel. It’s easy to appreciate what director Ciaran Foy is attempting but as disturbing as the content is, it doesn’t do much to frighten.
Original director Scott Derrickson returns on script duties with C. Robert Cargill. They give the plot depth but maybe go too far at trying to explain the actions of the characters. It’s a case of telling too much when they should be showing.
The film has a good cast with fairly solid performances by all. Sossamon is great as the troubled mother although her character feels slightly out of place, belonging more to a family drama than a horror. It wouldn’t have hurt Ransone’s character to have a proper name but neither does it harm his character. He makes an unlikely albeit sensible hero as he is frightened of the Bughuul and doesn’t make the decision to throw himself into harm’s way lightly. He’s likable but maybe a little too meek.
The real life Sloan brothers have great chemistry onscreen. Their character arcs get more predictable as they unfold however their performances should keep you interested until the climax. Also joining into the cast of Sinister 2 is Caden Fritz, a 12-year-old from Rockford. Fritz plays a ghost child that haunts the main characters throughout the movie. Fritz was previously an extra on Chicago Fire but this is his first speaking role.
The third act is strong as Foy switches to a pseudo-found footage style that will have you heavily invested in the outcome. It’s a shame that considering the theme, the film works best with the supernatural element taking a back seat. The Bughuul itself may be the catalyst for events but it doesn’t require to be represented physically, especially considering how it communicates to its would be victims.
Sinister 2 is enjoyable enough, but don’t expect it to give you any sleepless nights.