2012’s “Sinister” was a rare surprise. While it did depend on a number of common, run-of-the-mill gimmicks, “Sinister” had enough smarts behind it to succeed where many modern horror movies fail. It slowly built a compelling story. It never went overboard. It had some unsettling but satisfying twists. It was a huge hit meaning a sequel was inevitable in this money-starved movie climate. Unfortunately “Sinister 2” has none of the ingredients that made the first film enjoyable.
C. Robert Cargill and Scott Derrickson return as co-writers but you certainly can’t tell. I don’t know if they used up all their tricks in the first film, but “Sinister 2” is a flat and uninspired retread that feels like one big cash grab. Nothing about it sets it apart as uniquely its own and nothing comes close to living up to its predecessor.
James Ransone is back but his character has turned in his deputy’s badge after the gruesome events of the first film. Now he works as a private detective investigating a series of murders each connected to the monstrous Bughuul (aka The Boogieman). His research leads him to a single mother named Courtney (Shannyn Sossamon) who is on the run from her abusive husband along with her two young sons. They’ve taken up residence in an isolated farmhouse, but the detective isn’t the only one to find them. Bughuul and his band of macabre kiddies have a special connection there which isn’t a good thing.
I will give the story a little credit. It does try to expand on the premise created in the first film. But literally nothing in the sequel sparks any interest or has the same creepy effect as before. The scares are nonexistent. The film can’t create any legitimate tension. There isn’t an interesting character in the entire thing. And by the time we get to the end it has flown completely off the rails.
And then there are the performances. I hate to be too critical but James Ransone left me dumbfounded. I have absolutely no idea what he is going for, but he gives one of the most unsure and tone-deaf performances I’ve seen in a long time. He seems completely out of tune with his character and doesn’t show confidence in conveying any of his character’s emotions. It doesn’t help that all of the child performances are wobbly and Lea Coco is especially awful as the over-the-top abusive father and husband.
So basically what I’m saying is “Sinister 2” is a profound mess of a movie. It stumbles around in a constant state of lethargy failing in every category that the first film nailed. Sadly the movie made money well above its budget which means we could get another one of these. But after this sloppy cash-in I can’t see me wasting my time on it.