Despite what some may think, invoking fear in an audience is not an easy task. Most horror films, regardless of budget, very rarely manage much more than a well placed jolt or momentary scare that fades as quickly as it surfaces, and unfortunately Sinister 2 is one of those movies without any real frights…or much else worth watching either.
The original Sinister (2012) was, despite its flaws, a cleverly crafted and truly unnerving supernatural tale that introduced us to the eater of children, the ghostly and malevolent villain Bughuul (or Mr. Boogie as the children called him). In his first incarnation, Bughuul was a creature that was more shadow than flesh, glimpsed at the edges of the morbid home movies that drive true crime writer Ellison Oswalt (a pitch perfect Ethan Hawke) to the edge of madness as he hunts for the truth behind the videotaped slaughter of dozens of young families.
Sinister was a damn good movie, and the success of it was not only in the subtle but deeply effective performance of its main star, but also in the presence of the chilling, intangible villain that was ever present yet utterly elusive. In 2012 Mr. Boogie was a nightmare that could not be touched, could not be stopped and in his wake left only death and sorrow. In 2015, the nightmare is given flesh and pressed right up to the camera lens allowing the audience to see all of him in stark detail, and fuck if that doesn’t ruin the whole goddamn thing.
Director Ciarán Foy’s unsubtle tale follows (former) Deputy So & So (James Ransone) from the original, who incidentally is not given a name yet, as he travels from place to place burning down the homes that were the scenes of Bughuul related murders. In one of those homes he meets single mother Courtney (Shannyn Sossamon being kinda Southern) and her sons (twins Dartanian and Robert Daniel Sloan) who are, of course, meant to be Bughuul’s next victims.
Naturally one of the boys is already entangled with a posse of sufficiently creepy dead kids, who get their kicks by showing the impressionable youth all their ghoulish snuff films. The killer videos are still disturbing enough, but the shock value of those grisly images has worn off and there’s none of the substance of the original to balance out the killing. Truthfully there’s only so much snuff I can sit through before I get bored and start asking “what’s next”.
One bright spot is the cast, who are all accomplished and believable in their roles. Ransone is especially watchable, but although his earnest former deputy is charming enough, the character is fairly one dimensional and so doesn’t quite carry the film with the aplomb of Hawke’s doomed crime author. Of course Ransone isn’t to blame, but it’s hard to feel connected to a character that no one bothered to name, much less fully flesh out.
And then there’s Bughuul…Bughuul, the ancient and obscure Babylonian deity whose specter haunted the first film has been reduced to popping up in cheesy “boo” moments. What a shame that such an intriguing, ethereal villain has in this film been reduced to a tangible and un-scary guy in a mask. Dare I wager that in the next sequel (the ending leaves it WIDE open for one) Mr. Boogie will move to Elm Street and start spewing cheesy Freddy-esque one liners?
I for one think I’ll check out of this series right here and suggest that unless you really REALLY wanna see the sequel, don’t waste your time and just re-watch the first one instead.
Lemme know what you you thought of this flick horror fans, and as always if you like what you’ve read be a peach and click that Like button 😉