Sinister 2 – 6/10

Nowhere near as sickeningly frightening as Sinister…

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In my adult life not many films have actually made me feel scared. Sure the Paranormal Activity franchise has made me jump, and Saw has made me wince, and so on and so forth but very few films have made me feel anxiously scared right down to the pit of my stomach. Sinister was one of them. It arrived with little fanfare back in 2012 and it absolutely blew me away with its incorporation of everything that was popular in horror movies at the time, to become much more than the sum of its parts. The ridiculously unpredictable and terrifying ending just confirmed Sinister as an instant horror classic. So it was with some trepidation that I sat down to watch Sinister 2. Partly I was scared that it would tarnish the legacy of the first film, but mostly I was just plain scared…

Luckily for my sanity, Sinister 2 is not as intensely frightening as its predecessor. Whilst the snuff films that were so chilling in Sinister make a return second time round, they suffer from being too elaborate, too well thought out. The horror of Sinister came first from the violent simplicity of the snuff films and then again from the unforgettable ending. Sinister also benefited from a vague and hardly present antagonist. The fleshing out of Bughuul only serves to make him less powerful as a malevolent force.

Whilst Sinister was unremittingly dark in places, Ethan Hawke and James Ransome provided some comic relief that lightened the tone. The backdrop of domestic abuse in Sinister 2 makes for an unrelentingly grim and therefore difficult watch. Director Ciaran Foy’s slavish desire to make a homage to Children of the Corn also jars when compared to Sinister‘s more trailblazing approach.

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One high point however is the acting, with Ransome and Shannyn Sossamon making for a likeable pair of protagonists. Sossamon particularly succeeds in fleshing out a believable character and back story in a relatively short running time.

Sinister 2 is nowhere near as memorable as the film that proceeded it and whilst it is commendable that the film makers tried to take Sinister 2 in a different direction, almost every major shift away from what made the original so good feels like a misstep.

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