Sinister 2 (2015)
Starring Shannyn Sossamon, Robert Sloan, Dartanian Sloan, Nick King, James Ransone
Directed by Ciaran Foy
Bughuul is back! The ghastly specter from the first Sinister horror flick is up to his wicked tricks again in the much anticipated sequel, which took three years to come to fruition.
Written by Scott Derrickson (the director of the original) and C. Robert Cargill, and helmed by Ciaran Foy (The Citadel, which is excellent), this film is a lot livelier than its predecessor and thankfully steps up the action and suspense. While I didn’t hate Sinister, I did joke in my review of it that “[It] shows star Ethan Hawke looking at home movies, talking to computer screens, reading papers, talking on the phone, examining photos, and rifling through books… A lot.”
Sinister 2 is much less inside the mind of one protagonist; it expands by following four full-fledged characters and lessens the oppressive claustrophobic feel by letting us have the run of a huge haunted house, the surrounding countryside, and even other locations. The villain is Bughuul (also known as Bagul, The Eater of Children, and Mr. Boogie, is portrayed by Nick King), and while his role isn’t expanded, he’s not deviated from what we know: He is an ancient pagan Babylonian deity who consumes the souls of kids, he rules a realm of his own, and he can travel into the mortal world via images of himself.
The horror aspects are in full force: The snuff films through which Bughuul travels include unflinching looks at whole families being murdered in the most painful possible ways — eaten alive by rats in a church, another clan hung upside down in a gator-infested swamp, folks dispatched by scythes, fire, drilling, and a mom, dad, and kids buried alive in freezing snow.
Taking center stage is Deputy So-and-So (James Ransone), who comes back with his investigation skills fully honed. He soon meets spooked single mother Courtney Collins (Shannyn Sossamon) and her 9-year-old identical sons (real-life twins Robert and Dartanian Sloan), who’ve moved to a rural house to escape the clutches of her insanely jealous ex-husband, Clint (Lea Coco). Needless to say, an immediate attraction between the lawman and the mom complicate things not only on a domestic level – but a demonic one. As Bughuul tries to convince one of the kids to murder other family members, the Deputy keeps getting in the way… which of course means that even though he’s not a blood relative, Bughuul will still gladly spill his blood.
Too much CGI gets in the way of Amy Vincent’s stellar cinematography, and obligatory jump-scares undermine the build of suspense. But that’s par for the course and is right in line with the Blumhouse horror movie model of success – so, if you don’t mind that sort of thing, you’ll probably enjoy Sinister 2.