I really enjoyed the first Sinister film and I couldn't help but be excited for a sequel. But even seeing the first trailer for Sinister 2, I could tell something was off. I just couldn't place it. Hearing all the horribly negative reviews, I had to see it for myself. Yes, all the negative reviews are true. This movie fails as a horror film and fails at being the successor of Sinister. It pains me even more to know part of this film was made in my county: Kankakee County. There was even a way to apply to be an extra in a scene! Naturally, the theater that has it is advertising it like crazy and playing off the fact part of it was filmed around here. You know what other horror movie was partially filmed around here? The Unborn! Any horror movie filmed around here seems cursed! It's not all bad. At least I can pick out a few little things I liked about Sinister 2. It's not enough to make up for all the bad, but at least there are some positives I can say.
For one, I feel Shannyn Sossamon (the actress that plays the mother), did the best job acting wise. Lea Coco was good as well, even though he played the stereotypical abusive husband we've seen many times before. Similar to Minions this year, Sinister is the case of a side character from the first film becoming the main character and for the most part, Sinister 2's main character can't hold his own as the main lead. James Ransone (Ex Deputy So & So) tried his best to balance the comic relief from the first Sinister with the seriousness of a lead character. Unfortunately, it a little hard to watch and he acts extremely awkward most of the time. Not the funny awkwardness, but the one that's painful to watch. The child actors are the worst! That's not that difficult to believe, because many child actors are a hit or miss, but all the ghost children are bad with the main one seeming to be trying out for a Children of the Corn character! The two living boys (the brothers Robert and Dartanian Sloan) are the better of the child actors, but there are way over the top with their stereotypical characters. One brother is the meek one whose been chosen by Buguul who's afraid of everything and only watching the films because if he didn't he'd have nightmares... and the other bother is your typical mean brother that's jealous he wasn't chosen. These kids are just as important or even more important to the story than the adults, but when the first scene you see them in is them playing with toy guns in a grocery store and arguing about who won the game because one brother didn't make the "Bang" noise, they get annoying really fast.
There are a few scenes I thought were handled well. There is a scene where the abusive father is trying to take away his sons from the mother using some cop buddies, but Ex Deputy So & So used to be a cop and pointed out this wasn't as legal as the abusive husband claimed it was. It's a pretty cliched scene but everything in it was handled well. The blossoming relationship between Ex Deputy So & So and the wife was believable, but not perfect. And I think the final act was handled well. Some of the jump scares were good, but only the ones already revealed in the trailer.
Buguul also isn't scary. One of the problems I had with the first film is Buguul's design. He just looks like a wrestler in a Slipknot Halloween mask. Now, in the first film, we were lead to believe this could just be a serial killer until the supernatural element was eventually revealed. But now that we know he's a demon, I just wish they wouldn't show him as much as they do in Sinister 2. Pretty much all the times they show him, he's just standing around. It's not menacing in the slightest.
Another element that was amazing in the first film was screwed up in the sequel: the 8mm snuff tapes. Those snuff tapes made the first film all the most creepy and disturbing, even if most of the time we didn't get a clear picture of the families' deaths. But they at least looked more like 8mm films. In Sinister 2, they look like they were filmed on an HD camera with a dirty filter over it in post, but the image is somehow still crisp and high definition! It really doesn't help when every one of them has a CGI element that looks awful. One of the films involves a family dangling upside down on a branch over a swamp (how the kid was able to do this, I will never know). A cartoony looking CG crocodile or alligator jumps out of the water and starts eating the family. They go too over the top and show the violence too front and center. What made the first films snuff videos creepier was our imaginations because we didn't see everything. The only videos that looked like they belonged in a Sinister film is one where the family is buried in snow (which the family was awake and could have just climbed out of the holes while the kid was burying them!) and the film where the family is electrocuted in the kitchen (but they had to implement terrible looking CG burns on the family that looked like pepperoni on their arms!) .
Sinister 2 even rips off the final jump scare of the original, even though it's a happy ending and would not make sense at all! Sinister 2 is just not scary or creepy and fails to be a good or intriguing sequel. In fact, it has a lot of things in common with another horror movie sequel that came out this year in January: The Woman in Black 2. In both movies, the female lead was the best actress (But Woman in Black 2 had good actors all around including the main kid), there was a believable romantic subplot (Woman in Black 2's was better because both actors were good), they are chalk full of jump scares (Woman in Black 2 had more and worse ones), they both end in a happy ending, and they both end with a jump scare that completely copies the final jump scare of the original! But you know what? I consider the January horror movie better than Sinister 2!