What do you call a horror film that doesn’t scare you? I call it a failure. That’s what Sinister 2 is in every sense of the terms. While the first film was a wicked and scary affair which had terrific performances from the ensemble cast led from the front by the ever dependable Ethan Hawke, the latest installment just tires to feed on the popularity of the first film and fails miserably in every aspect. It’s what can be looked at as a re-occurrence of Annabelle with lesser scares. None of the cast members leave any mark neither do they seem threatened by the presence of “Bughuul”, the evil and ugly “taker of children” from the first installment. What we get instead is done to death horror scenes that you can sniff out even before they have started.
The story revolves around a mother Courtney(Shannyn Sossamon) of two boys who is practically running away from her husband who is abusive and even beat up one of the boys so badly that he had to be taken to the hospital. She takes refuge in a house that is Bughuul’s playground and the children who infest the house soon make contact with one of the boys. Running parallel to the story is the track involving the deputy (James Ransone) who had given vital information to the character of Oswalt (Hawke) in the first film and who has now dedicated his life to breaking the pattern of Bughuul. He realizes that this could be the family that would be the next target of Bughuul and tries to help them.
I am very easily spooked by horror and even the “not so scary” stuff but I was totally cool watching this film. There is practically not a single moment which would really scare you. Every scare is recycled and before they even start you can practically guess which way it is headed. Even the jump out moments are poorly done making them devoid of any genuine horror. The film is extremely lame and the plot which was one of the fortes of the previous film is not even passable. The only interest associated with the plot revolves around the fact that who out of the two children would be the target of Bughuul? That too is resolved quicker than one expects diluting any thrill that the narrative might be building up.
There is practically no feel of the characters. You neither connect with them nor invest in their story. The horror that comes from seeing the characters you love in danger is practically absent. Even in the climax which is terrible, the characters hardly invoke any exasperating emotions. Even when the characters are running for their lives, you will be able to sit relaxed and enjoy the show, without the tiniest jolts or fear of the unthinkable. The film has consistent cinematography for most of its runtime but it goes terribly haywire in the climax. Trying to convey the breakneck condition of the individuals running from certain death, the DOP uses shots and compositions which are barely watchable. The shaky cam is terribly done and the lighting renders most of the shots unwatchable. What’s the point of showing something if you are unable to see it in the first place?
The editing is terrible towards the end though it remains consistent throughout the first half. The film gives a notion as though the director started off with fervor and hope but 70 minutes into the film, he lost interest and patience and just wanted to wrap it up as quickly as he could. The ending is stupid. There is this strange compulsion with horror directors these days to ensure that the evil survives and that’s something that can be seen here as well even though it was totally unwanted. I was expecting a lot from this film and it has sorely disappointed me. If you are looking for quality horror or even a recreation of the best things about Sinister it’s better that you look elsewhere.