Sinister 2, 2015.
Directed by Ciarán Foy.
Starring Shannyn Sossamon, James Ransone, Tate Ellington, Nicholas King, Robert Daniel Sloan, Dartanian Sloan, Lea Coco and John Beasley.
A mother and her two sons unwittingly fall into the killing pattern of the demonic Bughuul.
2012’s Sinister was something of a commercial hit, landing in amongst a plethora of supernatural horror movies such as Insidious, The Conjuring and The Possession. Quite why it was such a success remains as mysterious as its masked antagonist because in truth it was a paper-thin plot about a supernatural killer that was needlessly convoluted and stretched out to nearly two hours during which not a lot happens. So now we have Sinister 2 and an opportunity to correct all of the first film’s faults to make a more rounded and coherent supernatural thriller, right? Um… not really.
Following the events of the first film, so-called Deputy So and So (James Ransone) has been fired from the police force and is working as a private investigator. Picking up where doomed writer Ellison Oswald left off, the former cop is following the pattern of murders committed by/in the name of the supernatural being Bughuul and burning down the houses where they took place before anyone else moves in and carries on the boogieman’s curse. However, his latest potential arson proves to be a little troublesome as Courtney Collins (Shannyn Sossamon) and her twin sons Dylan and Zach (Robert and Dartanian Sloan respectively) have moved in to escape Courtney’s abusive husband Clint (Lea Coco), and with both boys having visions of ghostly children whose souls have been taken by Baghuul and Clint using dirty tricks to try and get custody of his sons it looks like the family may have to move on. But if they move out then Baghuul’s curse will follow them, with only the well-meaning ex-Deputy So and So knowing the truth and Clint doing everything in his power to keep him from getting near to his wife. If it’s not one thing, it’s another…
The main problem with Sinister 2 is the same one that plagued the first film and that is that it simply isn’t a very good story. The mythology that the filmmakers are trying to create feels totally forced and not always easy to follow; this family moves here and then gets killed because they used to live in a house that this other family got killed in, and they got killed because they moved there from this other place, and on it goes. Not only is the plot not very interesting but neither is Baghuul, the big bad who looks like Slipknot’s Jim Root and doesn’t actually do anything but lurk in the background. It is down to the ghostly children in this movie to make sure that the Collins twins do what they need to do to their families and make sure it is captured on camera – because most villainous deities love to have their work captured on 8mm film obviously – and while the ghostly children running through the house in slow motion during the first film was the only vaguely creepy thing about it, here they interact fully with the two boys living in the house and have the weary facial expressions to match the painful line delivery, which takes away any sense of dread that the filmmakers so dearly want you to feel.
But there is salvation. Alright, not really salvation but having James Ransone return as Deputy So and So is the best thing about this film as he was the only character in Sinister with whom you felt any connection with. Here, as with the first film, Ransone plays it likeable but there are points when his character – an ex-cop who has a keen interest in the occult mystery unfolding around him and needs to keep his wits about him – goes from being sharp as a tack to playing it dumb almost on the flip of a coin and it’s not always easy to tell if it is because of sloppy writing or lazy direction. Whichever it is, Ransone remains the focal point even when he is not on-screen as Shannyn Sossamon is pretty nondescript as the downtrodden Courtney and Lea Coco just hams it up a little too much as the asshole husband.
Overall, Sinister 2 feels like the smaller, inferior and rushed knock-off of the Insidious movies, which in themselves aren’t amazing but they are quite fun and have a sense of playfulness about them. Neither of the Sinister movies are very much fun and this second one, while being mildly more entertaining than it’s extremely dull predecessor, just doesn’t compete on any level – there are no scares that you cannot see coming as mile off, the ghostly children aren’t creepy, Baghuul has no presence whatsoever and the cast of characters – with the exception of the warm but inconsistent Deputy So and So – just don’t do anything to warrant our sympathies, and ultimately it just feels lazy, forgettable and, thanks to the final showdown set in a corn field, on par with the worst of the Children of the Corn sequels. Unfortunately the predictable final shot means that Sinister 3 is likely to be along any time soon – you have been warned.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ / Movie: ★ ★