Sunday, August 23, 2015

Review: Sinister 2

Image courtesy of Focus Features.
The 2012 horror film "Sinister" was a fairly creepy concoction. In it, a demonic serial killer preyed upon children, coercing them into making creepy home videos that typically culminated in entire families being murdered on film.

Since that picture was fairly successful and a pretty decent example of its genre, well, here's the sequel. And it's not particularly good. "Sinister 2" is not very scary, unless you count the picture's numerous jump scares, a tactic that has become increasingly tiresome in horror movies. The issue is often that the film's material is not scary enough, so that the filmmakers make things pop up in front of the camera as a means of compensating. Yet it rarely does.

In this second entry in the franchise, a battered woman (Shannyn Sossamon) and her children flee their dirtbag of a husband/father and hide out in an old home in the country that is next door to a church where - of course - a massacre occurred. First, let me say that Sossamon's husband is one of the summer's most absurd villains. He's so unlikeable and evil in every way that it's hard to believe that the law agrees that he should have custody of his kids, whom he beats regularly. It's one of those plot points that only occurs because the movie needs for it to do so.

Sossamon's twin boys begin seeing creepy ghost children - and, I might add, some of the most talkative and annoying ghost children I've seen in a movie - who try to convince them to make the spooky home videos of the family for the aforementioned demonic serial killer. His name is Bughuul and while he was a frightening presence in the original picture, his resemblance to the member of a Swedish forest metal band increasingly became a distraction for me.

This is one of those horror movies in which you know exactly what is going to happen next - and then you're mostly right. You can easily guess in which part of the frame the creepy ghost children or killer will appear. Nobody listens to reason. People walk into basements from which eerie noises can be heard. Etc., etc.

James Ransone pops up as a former cop who has been investigating the Bughuul murders and his burgeoning friendship with Sossamon's mother of two results in the film's best moments. But here's a good example of how lazy this sequel is: Ransone's character's name is listed as - and I shit you not - Ex Deputy So and So. I'd be willing to bet that some awkward moments involving resumes and future job interviews are likely to stem from this.

So, "Sinister" goes the way of "Insidious" - a creepy original chapter followed by unnecessary and, worse, not particularly scary or engaging sequels. On the other hand, if there are any forest metal bands out there seeking a new lead singer, look no further.

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