2012’s Sinister saw Ethan Hawke knee-deep in snuff films and shielding his family from a bogeyman known as Bughuul, who coerces children into killing their families before kidnapping them. Sinister 2 sees the return of Deputy So & So (James Ransome) from the first film as he looks for a way to end Bughuul’s reign of celluloid terror. His mission sees him cross paths with Shannyn Sossamon, who plays Courtney, a single mum of twins hiding away from her abusive ex.
Whereas the original Sinister allowed us to uncover some kind of mystery alongside Hawke, this time around the film’s focus is on the children and how they’re provoked into such murderous actions. Courtney’s son, Dylan, is visited nightly by the spirit of Bughuul’s ‘children’ who force him to watch 8mm reels of families being dispensed of via being set alight, electrocution, and even crocodiles; all done with the intent of encouraging him to do likewise.
With the first being a moderate success, Sinister 2 wants to capitalise on this and does so by flying its colours under the banner of ‘more is more!’ More Bughuul stalking dark corridors like a Slipknot cast-off. More child-on-parent violence. More Ransome looking confused. None of which really adds anything to the narrative which feels more like a kitchen sink drama with a bit of bloodthirsty violence thrown in intermittently.
Perhaps with the first Sinister being such a standalone movie there’s nothing of value for original writers, C. Robert Cargill and Scott Derrickson, to explore. Did anyone need to know why the children do what they do? Often, things are scarier when they’re not explained. And whilst Sinister 2 at least manages to avoid being a mere re-tread, the final product comes off as decidedly flat.