Release Date: 21 August 2015
Running Time: 97 Min
Director: Ciarán Foy
Starring: James Ransone, Shannyn Sossamon, Robert Daniel Sloan, Dartanian Sloan, Lea Coco
Child-menacing pagan deity Bughuul (or Mister Boogie to his pals) is back to bother another young family in Sinister 2, the sequel to 2012’s hugely successful horror film Sinister. A tall, lank haired gentleman who manipulates kids into massacring their families on film, ol’ Boogie is bad news. Unfortunately, Sinister 2 is just plain bad.
Haunted by the weird events of the first movie, a former sheriff’s deputy makes it his mission to revisit all the houses that have been visited by Bughuul and burn them to the ground; thus ending any possibility of Boogie ever returning to that place again. Unfortunately when he arrives at an old abandoned church – where a gruesome series of Bughuul-inspired murders were committed – he finds that the farmhouse adjoining it is inhabited by young mum Courtney and her twin sons Dylan and Zach. Hiding out from abusive husband and father Clint in this isolated, seldom visited part of the world, Courtney and the boys are already at risk, but when introverted Dylan starts showing signs that he’s being wooed by Mr Boogie, our unnamed ex-cop hero must find a way to save the day.
Sinister was a flawed, lightweight film, but at its core there was something moderately interesting about obsession and ambition. Ethan Hawke’s character, a once successful writer now struggling to sell his books, was slowly drawn into this supernatural world, captivated by its potential to rejuvenate his flagging career. Sinister 2 has no such interest in exploring anything beyond its surface. Why are Dylan and Zach such troubled kids? Because their dad is a cartoonish raving maniac that’s why, and that’ll have to be enough because there’s spooky home videos to watch and glowering demons to glimpse and dark corridors to stumble through and ghosts to talk to and on and on and on. Whereas films like The Babadook use their monsters as a metaphor – a way to understand the psychology of the central character – Sinister 2 is content to just use characters as a way to introduce the ghouls to proceedings.
The grainy home movies of families being brutally slaughtered are back from the first film (where they were effectively creepy and, well, sinister) only their power is diluted through repetition. After a while the insistence on reverting to grainy, silent 8mm footage scored by weird, discordant music played on a wonky looking phonograph becomes ridiculous. It’s almost like the filmmakers assume that obsolete recording formats and dudes who look like members of Slipknot are utterly terrifying. Sinister 2 plods along, milking the same tired scares over and over again to increasingly dismal effect. The sight of Bughuul standing forlornly in the corner of a dark room, before suddenly vanishing, isn’t particularly scary the first time. By the fourth time it’s as worn out as a scratchy old 8mm home movie.