In the aftermath of the shocking events in Sinister, a protective mother (Shannyn Sossamon of Wayward Pines) and her nine-year-old twin sons (real-life brothers Robert and Dartanian Sloan) find themselves marked for death in a rural house as the evil spirit of Bughuul continues to spread with frightening intensity.
In SINISTER 2, the follow up 2012's SINISTER, the story picks up sometime later, as we follow the so-called "Deputy So-and-So" from the first film. He's now an Ex-Sheriff's Deputy, actually. We find that he is still trying to piece together the mystery of the mysterious Boogey Man known as "Bughuul", and just how it is that his friend, writer, Ellison Oswalt and his family fell victim to the evil entity. As we learned in SINISTER, The evil, and tragedy, which Bughuul brings, follows a pattern. And that pattern is, a family moves into a property, in which a murder had previously taken place, however, the new family not die there - they are merely just marked for death. Because it is that the evil follows them to their next residence, should they vacate the premises. The former Deputy hopes to prevent the pattern from continuing any further, by burning down the cursed properties, just as he most recently had done with the Oswalt house. His next target? An old farm house, which neighbors an old church, in which a family massacre/blood sacrifice once occurred. However, the former Deputy runs into a slight problem, when he learns that single mother, Courtney and her sons Zach and Dylan have moved into said farmhouse. Courtney has just separated from her abusive Businessman husband, Clint. and both she and the boys look for a new start. It doesn't take them long to learn of the property's murderous past, however, it doesn't seem to bother them much - but it should. Because soon the more vulnerable of the 2 boys, Dylan, begins to have frightening nightmares, which seem almost prophetic in a way. And not to mention that he is often visited by several spirits of undead children. Children which show him "home movies" of the murders which they committed against their families, all for the pleasure of the Boogeyman, Bughuul - and they urge him to do the same, Meanwhile, while Courtney continues to battle over custody with husband Clint, the Ex-Deputy works to uncover the origin of Bughuul while watching over Courtney and the kids. He desperately tries to get them to stay put for obvious reasons, but when Clint persuades County to move back home, the murder structure takes shape. From here, the Deputy looks to prevent history from repeating itself. But the question is, how does one stop a centuries old evil from repeating?
Ok, so until a couple days ago, SINISTER was a film that I hadn't yet seen. But in knowing that I would be reviewing the sequel, I thought the sensible thing to do would be to see it beforehand. And you know what? I liked it! In fact, I thought it was pretty damn clever. SINISTER had an old school look and feel about it, as it progressed in a way that really let the Horror seep in slowly. It was able to keep its air of mystery up to nice effect, Honestly, I loved how it played out. I loved how the murder pattern reveled itself. And speaking of revealing, I liked that details about the demonic figure that the film introduced, a demon known as "Baguul", were kept to a minimum. We only really saw him near the end. It played out like a classic Horror film, almost as effective as the original, THE AMITYVILLE HORROR. When the film ended, I felt that it was a good standalone film, and was definitely a film that did not necessarily need a sequel.
But alas, as film popularity often does, it has brought about a follow up, and this is that sequel. It is one that proves my gut feeling, that SINISTER is a film that did not need one, as the follow up, SINISTER 2 falls way short of the mark set by the predecessor. Here, it seems that the murder pattern, and Bughuul are not finished. The Ex-deputy(Ex, following the events of the last story) thought that he outsmarted the pattern, by burning down the Oswalt place, but he was wrong. As it turns out, the evil isn't finished, and has set it's sights on a new family, in particular, a single mother and her 2 sons. Instead of any build up like last time out, SINISTER 2 basically fast forwards right into the juicy details. It marks the family for seemingly inevitable tragedy, and singles out one of the children as the next killer in line. He is seen experiencing horrible nightmares of death, and he is also forced to watch a number of murders on film, by the spirits of the murderous children before him. Instead of naturally shocking its audience like last time, it sets out in SINISTER 2 to force that shock upon us. And because of that, the film feels like any other modern day Horror film. Whereas SINISTER was suspenseful in the classical sense, everything here just feels overly forced. It would appear that writers and creators, Scott Derrickson and C. Robert Cargill, just didn't know where to take the story next. I have a feeling that there was never really any original intention for there to be a sequel. This film feels like nothing more than a rushed rehash of the idea behind the first film. They just seem to be going through the motions, in creating similar events to that of the first film, in hopes that it would become as popular as the last. Unfortunately it's just not a film of the same caliber. Most of it is just dry, and uninteresting.
The problem isn't necessary the acting. I felt that everyone did ok with what they were given, it's just that the film had no depth beyond its manufactured shocks. I did like seeing James Ransone reurn as "Deputy So-and-so", but I have to admit that his character progression from the first film, and this one, is the most typical, in terms of characters whom survive to carry over into sequels. He's a decent character, but here, they've made him typically sympathetic. Also typical are "Courtney" and her 2 sons, "Zach" and "Dylan". The film puts great emphasis of the abusive relationship that Courtney and her husband Clint have, and the fact that Clint also abuses the kids. These characters played by Shannyn Sossamon("Courtney Collins). brothers Dartanian and Robert Sloan("Zach" and "Dylan" respectively), and Lea Coco("Clint Collins"), are setup in a way to create built-in sympathy for the audience, and while the abusive family aspect is a hair raiser, here it just feels too abundant, as I feel it distracted the story from the real matter at hand. I admit that I may have cared a little for these characters, but not in such a matter, where the investment demanded my attention. I just wasn't that into the story, in the way I was with the first film.
As I said, I left SINISTER being rather impressed with it. While there had been similar films, I liked its pacing, as well as the way which it presented things. I also liked that we barely saw Bughuul. However, SINISTER 2 now comes along and follows the trend, which believes "more is better". That is usually never the case. And this film is just further proof of that. In this film, the mysterious Bughuul has much more of a screen presence, and it basically kills that mystique - and in the process, the film altogether, kills most of the momentum that the first film had gained.
IMPRESSION OF THE FILM
Again, where I didn't know what to expect from the original film, I actually liked it a great deal, I must admit, and as a result I was looking forward to SINISTER 2. Unfortunately, it's just not as good a film as SINISTER, and feels like a rushed cash-grab, made to simply capitalize on the sleeper success of the original. What's wrong with singular, standalone films these days? Apparently, Hollywood doesn't care, just as long as there is money to be made. I say skip it. Stick with the first one.
Special Features include :
- Extended Kill Films
- Time to Watch Another: The Making of Sinister 2
- Feature Commentary with Director Ciaran Foy
This film is available on Video on Demand now, and will be released in a Blu-Ray/DVD/UltraViolet combo pack on January 12, 2016