Sinister 2 (2015)

sinister21

*. This is one of the least welcome sequels I’ve seen in a long while. Not because the first Sinister was particularly bad — though I didn’t like it much — but because that movie didn’t leave much room for further development of its main conceit, which had the demon Bughuul snatching children away to a Neverland of family snuff films. It’s a bizarre premise, and the more you find out about how it works, the less interesting and more ridiculous it seems. So no need for a sequel then.
*. But the first film was made on a budget of $3 million and took in nearly $80 million at the box office, so here we go again.
*. It’s not just more of the same, though what makes it different doesn’t make it any better. Deputy So-and-so (James Ransone, still with no name and technically no longer a deputy) is on the case of Bughuul and has tracked the demon down to a young mother with twin sons who has run away from her abusive husband. Now both her husband and Bughuul are after custody of the kids.
*. Apparently director Ciaran Foy was concerned about the character of the husband, Clint, being a cartoon. He got what he was afraid of, as Clint really is a caricature heel. I didn’t believe him for a minute.
*. What makes this movie different is that it’s mainly told from the point of view of the children who are being recruited to the dark side, and the way the victims are made out to be more than deserving of their miserable fates. Both of these changes have the effect of watering down the suspense, as we’re privy to everything that’s going on from the beginning and we basically want to see the bad people go to hell.
*. Despite a story line that should be more involving I wasn’t buying any of it. The acting struck me as very bad. Tate Ellington as Dr. Stomberg stood out as particularly unconvincing playing an unhinged academic, though apparently Foy told him to ham it up and I did get a smile out of his description of the snuff films as the “aesthetic observance of violence.” That makes it a valid field of research, you see.
*. If you have a fondness for really bad horror movies from the ’80s you may be reminded in several places of Children of the Corn. This is not entirely an accident, though in the original script the farm was to be set amid wheat fields. It appears as though an homage was intended to that earlier work, which is something that the ending goes all-in with — much more so than the “slight allusions” to Children of the Corn that Foy mentions on the commentary
*. That’s right, an homage to Children of the Corn. Think about it. That’s where we’re at.
*. I don’t want to say a lot more. There was nothing interesting, suspenseful, or scary about this one. On the commentary track Foy talks about having to find a balance between the horrific and the comic scenes but I’ll be damned if I can see anything funny in it. The snuff films struck me as downright deplorable, aside from the jumping alligators. Bughuul wasn’t developed at all, leading me to suspect there’s nobody home in that cheap suit. Thematically one senses a strange and sad anger directed at the nuclear family, as opposed to the more traditional anxiety over threats to its security. I wonder what that says about us. Nothing flattering, I’m sure.
*. I really hope we’ve seen the last of these, but I wouldn’t want to bet on it. In any event, I think I’m done.

sinister22

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