September 13, 2015
"Sinister" was a critical and commercially successful horror film in 2012. Ethan Hawke starred as Ellison Oswalt, an author of true crime novels who moves his family into the very home where a gruesome family massacre had previously taken place. He discovers a box of film reels which had video footage documenting the deaths of several families. His research turns into a real life horror for him and his family. I liked the first "Sinister" film, as it was as its title states.
This sequel "Sinister 2" is connected to the first film via the character of James Ransome. He was the deputy in the first film who was helping the Oswalt family. In this new film, he had quit the police force to become a private investigator. He is, as he was before, still unnamed, only known as Ex-Deputy So-and-So.
This time, he gets involved with a battered wife Courtney, who is in hiding from her brutish husband Clint. Unknown to her, Courtney's two young sons Zach and Dylan are being visited by ghostly children controlled by a shadowy being called the Bughuul. The twins were made to watch grisly videos of the other kids killing their family.
The scary highlights here are those dastardly evil snuff videos of some of the creepiest and most violent ways of killing people. With ominously innocent titles, like "Fishing Trip" or "Christmas Morning," those faded films are disturbing to say the least, and had matched or even upped the gruesomeness of those in the first film. Their accompanying music soundtrack record makes the atmosphere in that basement even more sinister.
The devil children are shown in plain sight here interacting with Zach and Dylan. It is actually quite disturbing to think that these kid actors were actually exposed to and performing in such evil scenes. I am especially bothered by the diabolically violent scenes of Dartanian Sloan who portrayed the character of the naughtier twin Zach. His real life twin, Robert Daniel Sloan, plays the meeker, more vulnerable twin Dylan.
James Ransome makes a good lead character here as he is likable and not the usual superhuman hero. He is usually clueless, clumsy and easily creeped out like the rest of us, so we can identify with him. The writers somehow sneaked in some sort of an awkward romance between the ex-deputy and the pretty Courtney (played by Shannyn Sossamon). I thought that was a bit on the cheesy side.
Originality (which is a big factor for my 9/10 rating of the first film) is not there anymore of course because this is a sequel, but we do get to meet the bad guy Bughuul better in this one. New director Ciaran Foy still employed several horror film cliches like jump scares, but again I thought they worked for the film's advantage. Overall, I thought "Sinister 2" matched the creep and scare factors of the first. It is definitely worth the watch for those in the mood for a good horror film. 8/10.