Friday, March 10, 2017

Film Review: Sinister 2 (2015)

Sinister 2 (Review)
United States/2015
Format Viewed For Review: HBO Now
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"Although it's not the worst film around, this is the definition of an unnecessary sequel."

A mother and her twin sons, hiding from an abusive husband/father, find themselves in the home of a ritualistic murder...

Sinister 2 is a sequel to the first film—but it might be more of a remake. You see, the film essentially retreads most of the plot from the first movie while  barely developing anything new. The plot follows Courtney (Shannyn Sossamon) and her twin sons, Dylan and Zach. The family is on-the-run, hiding from an abusive patriarch with too much power. They find shelter in an old house—which happens to be the site of a gruesome murder. At the house, Dylan sees ghosts of children who show him snuff films they recorded. The ghost kids basically try to bring Dylan to the dark side and convince him to murder his family. The Deputy (James Ransone) from the first film, now a private detective, tries to help them. There's a little more to the plot, but that's all you need to know. It's very basic and shallow stuff. It leads to a surprisingly ineffective ending. As a matter of fact, the entire third act felt rushed and underwhelming.

Sinister 2 is a very disappointing film—especially when compared to the original. As a whole, this film feels hollow and rushed. The plot is a retread of the first one, but somehow managing to give us less. Its focus on the children ghosts was surely used to differentiate it from the original, but this also means there is even less of Bughuul—the icon of the series. Story disappointments aside, the film is also severely lacking in horror. This is not a scary movie. It has a handful of clever jump-scares, but most of its jump-scares were duds. There is no grim atmosphere, either. The tapes are a bit disturbing, but they don't offer enough to fill a ~90-minute movie with dread. Oh, and using The Deputy as comic relief really made this film much less ominous. In nearly every scene, this character is trying his hardest to be awkward and goofy.

The acting was okay. Shannyn Sossamon, of One Missed Call fame, is decent. She's better in this film than in One Missed Call. She still has the tendecy to overact, though. James Ransone wasn't a great fit for this role—at least, in this scope. He can pass as awkward here and there as a supporting character, but his flaws shine as a main character. The child cast was decent, though. The film looked okay and the use of music was great. The film was written by C. Robert Cargill and Scott Derrickson, and directed by Ciaran Foy. The writing felt lazy and uninspired. There is no story here. It doesn't add anything significant to the 'Sinister universe'—for lack of a better term. Foy's direction fares a bit better, but there is a lack of confidence here. He doesn't take any chances, so he doesn't shock or stun the audience. His lack of confidence also severes the connection between the audience and the film. There are scenes that should be emotional here, but you don't feel anything.

Overall, Sinister 2 is a medicore film and a disappointing sequel. It has a few solid moments, but it doesn't do enough to warrant its existence. It's not a particularly frightening film, either. Even in terms of jump-scares, it doesn't offer enough. Although it's not the worst film around, this is the definition of an unnecessary sequel.

Score: 4/10
Parental Guide: Violence and blood.

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