2012’s Sinister wasn’t exactly a great horror movie, but it was an effective one. Part of that came from its overall sense of mystery and dread as writer Ethan Hawke investigated the mass murder that took place in the house he just moved his family into, and part of it was also a product of the unsettling home movies – chronicling a series of such massacres – that formed the core of Hawke’s increasingly disturbing research. It was only toward the end, with the mystery revealed and the malevolent force at work brought to light, that Sinister began to run out of steam.
So naturally, Sinister 2 suffers from the problem that affects most horror sequels: once the unknown is known, there is pretty much nowhere to go. The filmmakers involved in such endeavors usually either attempt to expand the mythology or up the stakes in terms of unpleasantness. They rarely succeed.
In the case of Sinister 2, they try to do both. The central lore – that the ancient demon known as Bughuul claims the souls of children through their own artistic expression, i.e. drawings or through home movies – was kind of confusing already but has now become even more knotty. Similarly, the home videos get increasingly more sadistic while also simultaneously ending up more repetitive too. They’re now so elaborate that one is forced to wonder if Bughuul has a full-time film production crew working for him.
Basically, Sinister 2 is just a game of cat and mouse. The story centers on Shannyn Sossamon (of Wayward Pines and Wristcutters: A Love Story) as Courtney Collins, a young mother and furniture restorer who has fled to – you guessed it – an isolated house in rural Illinois with her two sons to evade her abusive estranged husband.
The last film’s sole survivor Deputy So-and-So has deduced that the house is the next spot where Bughuul will turn up and sure enough, the “ghost kids” that follow the demon around like a spooky Mickey Mouse Club are already there with a new box of movies to show Courtney’s son Dylan (Robert Sloan). So, of course it’s now on them to stop this horrible demon… blah, blah blah. Toss in your typical shoehorned, awkward, forced romance between the two main characters (seriously, not EVERY movie has to have one of these), Sossamon being a rigid, undefined, and quite frankly boring character who is basically nothing more than a cardboard cutout “regular woman in danger with kids and an abusive past” from a hundred plus Lifetime movies, and the standard, run-of-the-mill, paint-by-numbers horror stuff, and… well, that’s pretty much it. Nothing really to this one.
The Bottom Line:
Honestly, there’s just nothing to this film. Another horror film sequel, another film barely worth mentioning. It’s a very common tale. Technically speaking, it’s well-made enough (which for $10 million dollars it better at least look technically good) but it’s not scary, it’s not suspenseful, it’s not even entertaining. This film just isn’t effective at all. Don’t waste your time. Don’t waste your money at the theater. Just go wait for it to pop up in your local $5 DVD bin… I promise you, that’s exactly where this one’s headed. — 4.0/10
Editor: Nerd Nation Magazine