Sinister did something a lot of horror films fail to do lately, … it was actually unsettling and well-made as a whole. Horror has taken a hit in recent years, and it’s nobody’s fault, and this is subjective. Films like Paranormal Activity and The Conjuring (and Annabelle) flourish, and them alone might have been bearable, but like the eighties when everybody tried to have a slasher flick, every horror film now has to be a supernatural one. The difference is that I dislike supernatural flicks and actually like slashers, but that’s neither here nor there.
If a horror is well-made, a horror is well-made. Poltergeist, Annabelle, and Ouija are the norm lately though, and they are far from well-made. And while there’s stuff like It Follows, .found, and The Den that come outta the crevices, there’s not really a lot of mainstream horror to be excited for. The Conjuring wasn’t bad, but it strikes me more as the best of a bad situation. Sinister used sounds and imagery in a unique way and it worked. The idea that less is more can work, but usually, more is more when more is done well. I can think of so many moments in Sinister that I liked, but can think of very little from recent mainstream horror. It all feels like rehashed spots we’ve seen in other films and things that aren’t unsettling, and more important than that, they aren’t entertaining.
Sinister 2 follows Detective So-and-So in his efforts to put Bughuul down for good. I didn’t like his character too much in the first film, he was decent, but was a shortcoming, in this film though, the actor’s charm is able to shine through a lot more. James Ransome makes for an above-average performance as a lead in a horror film. Sadly though, Sinister 2 is more comparable to Annabelle and Poltergeist than the first. The cinematography and score doesn’t have the same appeal as the last one, and oftentimes, like those films, feels like it’s clutching for an aesthetic that isn’t in its reach. In this case, Sinister 2 tries to do some things like the first one does, and while it technically does this, they aren’t as hallowing or memorable. I don’t think it’s a case of the novelty wearing thin as much as I do a case of the ‘murder tapes’ not having the same edgy rawness as the first.
This film is better than Poltergeist or Annabelle though. I didn’t compare it to them earlier to insult it, but to say that it looks more like present-time Blumhouse films than it does the first film. Something it maintains, that I like, is it doesn’t do the run-of-the-mill slow-burn style that’s been done to hell, and instead, it tries for a happy-medium of incorporating it early on and working from there.
James Ransome does well, and so does Shannyn Sossamon for that matter, but everyone else is deplorable. The kids. I don’t like kids in horrors very much. The novelty of it being scary or creepy to see children acting like demons hasn’t really been too effective for a while, and what it usually means is that the acting won’t be very good. The ‘ghost children’ aren’t too bad, but they don’t excel, meanwhile, the siblings are absolutely cringe-worthy to watch. Their father’s acting is over-the-top and cliche also.
Sinister 2 is a below-average horror film. But in-comparison to what we’ve had with recent mainstream horror films, this one’s actually a small step-above. The two main characters are likable, and while it’s mostly a rehash of what we saw in Sinister done much, much worse, it’s still semi-functional from an entertainment standpoint. The film doesn’t necessarily offer-up too much else on Bughuul, but it doesn’t do any damage, really. The best way I could describe the film is that, if you liked Sinister, this film’s deeply inferior, but it’s not a train wreck. It has some merit and some ideas that I did like, they are simply brought down by a ho-hum narrative and acting, as well as cheesy jump-scares.
Thanks for reading…