Sinister 2 picks up from where its predecessor left off. With Ethan Hawke’s true crime author Ellison Oswalt and his family massacred at the end of the last movie, it is his former police contact – a random Deputy whose name isn’t even revealed in the movie and he is referred to as Ex-Deputy So & So (whut!) – who takes over the torch.
He investigates gruesome murders, particularly those involving a missing child and whole families getting slayed because these are clues that Bughuul may be behind them. Bughuul is the sinister (ha!) boogeyman from the previous movie who brainwashes children to murder their own kin.
These violent acts are recorded by the murderer on an antique super 8 camera and the film reels are left behind at the crime scene so that the next unsuspecting family who moves in will chance upon them.
And this is how Bughuul claims his next victims. By playing the film reels and watching the murders, you would’ve made yourself susceptible to his influence. And this is where Deputy So & So comes in – he locates the latest crime scene and burns it down before another family moves in and the vicious circle continues.
His investigation leads him to a country home with a church next door where a family was slaughtered. But this time, he finds that the abandoned property is already occupied by a woman named Courtney (Shannyn Sossamon) and her twin sons Dylan and Zach. They are on the run and hiding from her abusive husband, an influential businessman who threatens to fight for sole custody of the children.
Deputy So & So thus has to conduct his investigations while getting embroiled in the family drama.
This one’s for the faint-hearted. If you’re looking for higher calibre scares, you’ll be sorely disappointed and if you consider yourself a horror connoisseur, you might even be downright offended!
The cast, including James Ransone who reprises his role as the nameless deputy, performs admirably and you might even sympathise with their individual struggles.
But there is absolutely nothing original or surprising about Sinister 2. It’s as if director Ciaran Foy employed every lame, overused scare tactic in the horror cinema handbook: the false alarms (Oh! It’s a darn rat and not an evil entity from your nightmares!), then BLAM! Bughuul in your face! BLAM!! Pale, spectre children jump out of the corner of your eye!
It’s the kind of shock/ jump scare ploy that would work on you if you were still 10! And this is unacceptable especially when there are more inventive and effective works like It Follows (2014) and The Witch (2015), which have been making their rounds at festival circuits and wowing audiences earlier this year. And I sincerely hope that the true blue horror fans among you caught It Follows, which is brilliant, when it was screened here in July at The Projector!
Even the snuff-like murder footages look tired whereas they were genuinely eerie in Sinister (2012) under Scott Derrickson’s direction. Derrickson was in fact involved in writing the inadequate script of Sinister 2, which worries me a little because he has since landed a plum gig of adapting Marvel’s Doctor Strange (2016) for the big screen!
Don’t get me wrong! I love that Marvel hired a horror filmmaker to work on Doctor Strange, which I hope will turn out dark, weird and macabre, but Derrickson has a somewhat erratic track record.
Some of his films like Sinister and The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005) are not bad, memorable even. But he’s also responsible for the unexciting The Day The Earth Stood Still (2008) remake as well as the underwhelming Deliver Us From Evil (2014). I just hope that he forms the kind of relationship with Marvel that works out well for Doctor Strange in the end!
But back to Sinister 2 for now. The scariest thing about this movie is that hip ‘90s It Girl Shannyn Sossamon plays a mom and she is dressed in the most ill fitting, matronly outfits the wardrobe department can find at the Golden Girls yard sale. God help us all, ‘80s and ‘90s kids!
Sinister 2 is now screening at Singapore cinemas.
Have you seen it? What are your thoughts?