The Movie Waffler New Release Review - <i>SINISTER 2</i> | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review - SINISTER 2

A single mother's two sons are targeted by the evil spirit Bughuul.

Review by Eric Hillis

Directed by: Ciarán Foy

Starring: James Ransone, Shannyn Sossamon, Robert Daniel Sloan, Dartanian Sloan

"Sinister 2 opts for horror's lowest common denominators - jump scares and gore - but the genre has moved on. No more cattle-prod cinema! Snuff's enough!"

Another week, another mainstream Hollywood horror movie that completely misunderstands what makes the genre work. In the wake of this year's indie sensation It Follows - a movie that grasped the concept of evoking dread through atmosphere, suspense and tension - a jump-scare, Boo, Gotcha riddled bore like Sinister 2 is a sad reminder that Hollywood is only interested in presenting the artifice of the genre, cynically jettisoning its mechanics. The horn in this wagon works, and it's extremely loud, but there's nothing under the hood.
The first installment devised a hokey yet novel twist on the haunted house theme, putting its residents in danger only when they leave the troublesome abode, thus creating a chain letter effect of homes awaiting unsuspecting families, the children of whom are encouraged to murder the rest of their family and join up with a gang of youthful ghouls led by a demonic spirit named Bughuul. This sequel latches onto the idea of keeping a family in the house for their own good quite ingeniously, with Shannyn Sossamon and her two young boys on the run from her abusive husband, who seems to have the entire State police under his employ. When the evil hubby tracks them down, they need to leave, but we as the audience know that's not an option. That's a clever bit of suspense, but it's sadly never utilised to its full potential.
Much of the movie lacks a supernatural element completely as it focusses on the growing attraction between Sossamon and the former police deputy of the first movie (James Ransome, whose character is still listed as Deputy So and So), who now spends his time tracking down and burning the homes plagued by Bughuul's curse. To their credit, both actors give it their all, and deserve better than this.
Every 15 minutes or so, to remind us this is a horror movie, one of the kids ventures down to the basement where the ghost brats force him to watch Super 8 footage of previous murders. These sequences are jarring in tone, and exceptionally grim in their depiction of murder, which often disturbingly includes infanticide. The overall effect is of watching a run of the mill Lifetime domestic abuse drama into which some sick joker has edited snuff footage.
While these sequences are grisly - more so than anything that made it onto the UK 'Video Nasties' list back in the '80s - they're not remotely scary, simply off-putting. As if the characters in the movie itself know this, the ghost brats accompany their screenings with recordings of creepy industrial sounds. Still not scary. The same goes for Bughuul, whose photo-bombing antics merely provoke unintentional laughter.
Sinister 2 opts for horror's lowest common denominators - jump scares and gore - but the genre has moved on. No more cattle-prod cinema! Snuff's enough!