Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Sinister 2 Review

Sinister 2 Review
"Sinister" was a horror movie I liked very much. It didn't feel like any other horror movie I had seen in awhile. That should say something since it was a movie that featured several familiar tropes in horror films; evil children, blood, jump scares, a nice thriller, creepy tapes..."Sinister" featured it all and made it all feel fresh and original. The movie felt dangerous from the opening frame and it only heated up after that, and it has been a movie I am glad I saw. 

I was optimistic about a sequel. I liked that Scott Derrickson and C. Robert Cargill returned to write the script. I think Bughuul has a supreme chance to become a Chucky or a Freddy Krueger or a Jason Voorhees for a new generation and I welcome more movies with open arms. For the most part, I think "Sinister 2" is pretty good. Not great, but pretty good. I don't think it gets under your skin like the first one did. I don't think it has the genuine tension and disturbing imagery of the first movie either. Much like "Poltergeist," but to a much better outcome, I think "Sinister 2" is another horror movie that uses too much make-up and too much special effects, which I think reduces the scares the movie was trying so hard to pull off.

The sequel opens just like the first one did, as we watch a gruesome death of a family happen in front of us. In the first movie, we watched a family get hanged, in this movie we watch a family get burned alive on a set of crosses. But something feels off. In the first movie, it was a great way to open the movie. The opening scene in the first movie was shot on an old-school Super 8 camera, and everything about the scene felt slow and authentic, which made the scene so much more scarier. In the sequel, there too much use of high definition that it chokes the scares right out of the scene. The hooks weren't in like they were the first time, so that was a bit disappointing.

We meet Courtney (Shannyn Sossamon) a single mother who retreats to a rural farmhouse with her twin sons Dylan and Zach to get away from her abusive ex-husband. Dylan can't sleep because he is having vivid nightmares and he is constantly being woken by a group of ghost children who force him to watch Super 8 videos of families dying, and thus starts the chain of events that lead this family in an encounter with Bughuul, the creepy entity from the first movie.

I liked Sossamon and she does effective work here as the mother. I like Robert Daniel Sloan as Dylan and Dartanian Sloan as Zach Collins. The entire cast does fine work here, its just that everything that is happening around them doesn't add up like the first one did. I wouldn't call "Sinister 2" a horrible movie or really even a bad movie, its just a movie that lacked some forward momentum. The ghost children don't work. That is a cliche I am beginning to recognize that I don't like as a horror fan. Ghost children or devil children or whatever evil children who show up in movies and have personalities don't work for me. I don't find them scary, I find them annoying, just like I didn't find this particular lot scary, just annoying. Sure, there were children in the first movie and children are a big part of why this franchise has been effective. But giving ghostly children personalities doesn't work for me, and I was sat through all of "Sinister 2" unflinching.

Like I said above, there is just too much high definition to really make feel scary. This sequel lost the authentic feel, the idea that you were really witnessing real murders and possibly real supernatural encounters. "Sinister 2" is just too sleek and too slick to be scary, disturbing or intense. This surprises me because most of the same team that was behind the first movie were behind this one. So why wasn't this one scary? Was it the new director? Did the team run out of ideas or run out of gas? Will this franchise not have the legs that Freddy or Chucky have? If so, too bad, because I thought for sure "Sinister" was going to start making a name for itself.

But hey, it still could. I am not going to even try to argue that all the "Nightmare on Elm Street" movies are good, or the "Chucky" movies or the "Jason" movies. All long franchises fluctuate with merit and I am sure "Sinister" is no different. Story-wise, I felt the sequel was still pretty interesting and I generally cared about the characters. I just wish the movie worked better as a horror movie, since that is what it is being billed as.

FINAL GRADE: B-

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