The first “Sinister” movie has become a favourite of mine in terms of modern Horror. The great concept, the genuinely emotional family story, casting choices and of course, the nightmare fuel that was the mini movies. it was a refreshing story in a bloated market of copycats. So, how does the sequel fare up?
We get a change in director in the form of Ciaran Foy (Citadel) but the writers return for the sequel. (Scott Derrickson, C. Robert Cargill) James Ransone play the now ex-Deputy who in his free time attempts to find the connection between the events of the first movie, and similar murders around the world. Meanwhile we follow a mother in the middle of a custody battle for her two kids, who have all moved to the countryside in an attempt to hide from the ex-husband and father. However, their new abode is the scene of a previous multiple murder, and one of the kids, Dylan, begins to witness horrible nightmares and strange visions. Clearly it won’t be long until the connections are made…
Visually, you can tell from the start that the feel the director is going for is different to that of the first movie. The new location means there are new lighting techniques, and set pieces that differ in tone. The change is a good thing to be fair – it would be a real shame if all we got was a repeat of the first story just in a new landscape. It also works to expand on the lore that was touched upon in the first story, but not to the point where a newcomer would get lost. Lastly, there is a heavier focus on the role of the two brothers, and how the eerie events effect them. If you have seen the first film, you’ll see this as an interesting point of view to take straight away.
However, I want to first get aside the problems I have, because there are some pretty negative reviews flying around, and I want to first illustrate where I agree with them. The character of the Deputy is played up to be a funny/awkward guy, but through the whole film I could only find him awkward. Think of the Officer from “Scream” and you can get a grasp of what they were going for. But except for one badass, redeeming scene in the second act, he is constantly way outside of his comfort zone, and lacks that human interaction trait we need to side with him. Also, the first act is very jittery and rushed in terms of story delivery and pace. Like a Seismometer dial it jumps about a centre point, but never spends long enough there. I had a hard time staying invested and keeping patience for when things pick up. This is certainly the area where critics found fault.
But into the second half things make a change for the better. The pieces that have been haphazardly set up begin to click into place, especially in terms of expanding the world and lore that the first film gave us ideas for. And for a sequel, it does a pretty good job of this. There’s one aspect where it explains how the invisible furniture that the family sees is being thrown about, and it is a great idea. Instead of a ghost or entity, it is a group of entities working for the same goal.As well as that, the kid actors perform their roles in a convincing way. The two brothers work off of each other really well, and the group of spirits do have some creepy moments. The mini movies don’t have quite the same level of shock and horror, but some of them will make you squirm in your seat. If you have seen it, all I need to say it “Hot coal and rats” for you to remember and destroy your good night’s sleep tonight.
Overall, I can see where people disliked “Sinister 2” – it can be predictable, unfunny, silly, and poorly paced at times to the point where you start to lose interest. But the second half won me over, despite these issues. Horror sequels very often have an automatic steep hill that they have to fight against, how do you capture the magic of your first success without repeating the recipe again? And even though this stumbles at times, I don’t see it as a “bad movie” at all. The allure is still there, the ideas remain very interesting, there are some great set pieces, and it did genuinely creep me the fuck out at points.
It may not be a classic, but even with the score I am going to give it, I’ll still recommend you give it a viewing.
Thanks for reading!