Monday, August 24, 2015

[Review] Sinister 2

Sinister was one of the better recent horror films of its kind, succeeding off its technical chops, steady build of dread, and audacious ending. It was good enough as a standalone piece, to the point where the "well, that was quick" news of a sequel made eyes roll. Then when the trailer for Sinister 2 released, it actually looked pretty hardcore. However, it ends up being a large step down (like, basement trap door sized) from the first, but it still manages to deliver some solid scares.

A single mother Courtney (Shannyn Sossamon) and her two rowdy boys have newly moved into a farmhouse in the middle of nowhere. And of course, some weird stuff is occurring there. There are two major links to the first film. One is the ghastly Bughuul demon (who, now that we've gotten clearer views--is starting to look like a mix between Glenn Danzig and Kane from WWE), which thrives off the corruption of innocence. The second is the cop (James Ransone), who returns here as a private investigator. He's been following these supernatural events for a while, and it turns out that one of the grisly group murders took place inside of an old church on Courtney's property. The curse is bound to repeat, and he's trying to break the pattern.

If you're wondering if you need to see the first one before you see this one, the answer is probably yes--not only because it explains the concept of Bughuul, but also because it's a really good film. Anyway, the story in Sinister 2 is heavily lacking, especially considering an unnecessary and ridiculous subplot that just seems like filler every time it comes up. And the film doesn't have a performance like Ethan Hawke's (the protagonist in the predecessor) anchoring it. The momentum is disjointed, and the ending is rushed and pretty underwhelming compared to the first film.

This is a situation where the biggest scares in the film were all packed into the trailer. But along the way, we still witness a lot of unnerving walks through dark and forbidding settings, the usual jump scares, and the disturbing, twisted, and painful-to-see snuff film footage. Even though it's difficult to watch, the snuff aspect is the strongest point of the film, in both visual style and traumatic creep factor.

All in all, Sinister 2 isn't as abysmal as a lot of reviews are making it out to be. If you just want to get your fill of scares, you'll probably get them. But chances are, we won't need a Sinister 3.


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