The movie industry is inundated with sequels. It seems like if a horror movie comes out that isn’t a sequel it is a relaunch to a previously successful series. The most irritating thing about this cascade of sequels and relaunches is that very few of them have much of a purpose. When Nightmare on Elm Street was relaunched, they almost broke new ground, making Mr. Kruger an innocent come back for revenge. They hedged, but this is notably the closest that one of these clone films has come to have a legitimate purpose beyond milking a franchise.
Amidst this disappointing climate, Sinister 2 is truly a breath of fresh air. For fans of the original movie, you most likely realized what the infamous pattern of the bogeyman was shortly after seeing the second grainy film of the movie. We were shown the entire movie from the point of view of the protagonists and the victims, which gave us some incredibly well put together scenes. The hide and seek portion of the movie, with the decaying children moving around the father as he searches the house was particularly unnerving.
Sinister 2 had, and took, the wonderful opportunity to show the story from the other side of the fence. Instead of seeing the same story rehashed, we are treated to the portion of the story where the children groom and persuade the children of the family to commit these most atrocious acts. Not only does this give us a great psychological thriller feel to the subplot, it also gives us glimpses of each of the individual kid’s family sacrifice.
Since the original protagonist was the father of the family that fell victim to the bogeyman, the sequel had an opening to fill. The writers chose an absolutely perfect replacement in the carry over from the first film, the deputy who was star struck with the father. This harmless, high strung former sheriff’s deputy is equal parts desperate, lovably awkward, and stand up man; A perfect combination for the kind of everyman we love to see as the hero.
The forceful way that the family is removed from the house is pertinent for the time period as well as believable in context of the film. Unfortunately, the completion of the pattern that gets each family killed is also where the film begins to get sloppy. While the law is forcing the family to leave the house and return to their abusive father and husband’s house, the protagonist is speaking with an academic that is revealing a new part to the pattern. Unfortunately, anyone who has seen the first movie, or even just paid attention to this sequel, was already aware that some sort of artistic record of the murders was part of the pattern. The revelation that it doesn’t have to be an old grainy film would have mattered more if it had any bearing whatsoever on the end of the movie.
Back to the actual family murders, however, it gets a little worse. First, the protagonist, desperation and all hits one of the children with his car. This seems really out of character, and is so temporary as to be almost laughable. Then, the boy who produces a large sickle out of thin air, begins chasing the remainder of the family. Now, I know that the characters are scared, but one thing that doesn’t tweak my flight response is a rail thin eight year old with a farm implement. The boy does some damage with the weapon, but the moment felt particularly forced.
Despite these failings, seeing that hide and seek scene played out from the point of view of the decaying children was just great. The ending of the movie was enjoyable and believable (as far as a horror movie can be) and would’ve beyond reproach save one thing.
The movie ends with a traditional jump scare and return of the antagonist. This is troublesome as the pattern of the killings was such an important part of the movie, and how he could possibly be around goes unexplained. This is further exacerbated by the fact that even the decaying children give us a definitive reason to believe it is over:
“You failed. We can’t ever come back now.”
As a lover of horror movies, but not of gore, I loved the execution of this movie. The few issues I mentioned were the only ones I could find, and I was thoroughly impressed by organic way most of this film came together. It was increasingly difficult to not root for the protagonist as he is the penultimate good guy. In fact, the third act twist, which I won’t spoil here, was intriguing enough to keep you wondering and guessing how straight forward the rest of the movie was going to be.
My rating: 4/5
Find out more about Sinister 2.