The genre of horror is always such a tricky and unique beast. It’s one that is rife with sequels that more often than not have a diminishing return on the original because no one is all that invested in telling that particular story. However, once in awhile we get something that actually manages to not necessarily improve on the original but it breathes a little bit of fresh life into a premise that could have easily gone somewhere pretty tiresome. Sinister 2 is definitely in the latter category as it at least has the guts to try something different and look pretty damn slick while doing it.
Courtney Collins (Shannyn Sossamon) just wants to protect her kids from their abusive father, however while she is hiding out on a quiet out of the way rural farm, something else that she could have never imagined is coming after her and her kids. Bughuul is still out there, killing families and taking souls where ever he can and Courtney and her kids are next unless are faithful deputy now Private Eye (James Ransone) can get there in time and stop the spread of the curse that is Bughuul.
Trying to recapture a little magic from the first film that made over $75 million at the box office (and only costing a scant $3 million to pull off), Sinister 2 does all the little things right by maintaining a little bit of sensible continuity between the two and allowing us as an audience to dive a little bit more into the mythology of Bughuul.
With Scott Derrickson & C. Robert Cargill coming back to write the sequel and the enlisting of director Ciaran Foy, fresh off of the successful festival run of his debut feature Citadel we get what could have been a tired, ‘been there, done that’ kind of horror scenario and allowed us to believe in what was happening to all of these characters. Nothing was too over the top and hokey and it gave us some very natural bridges to allow the story to unfold in a very effective manner. Ciaran Foy was an inspired choice as director as he managed to give some very simple scenes, like inside a church or in a corn field some genuine gravitas. Foy doesn’t waste a frame as the scary moments never feel cloying or dumb and rather than try and lean into as a horror movie, it plays much more as a supernatural thriller as the use of blood and gore never feels silly or over done. In concert with a fairly smart script that is trying to tell a logic continuation of the story, it feels uncommonly polished for a horror sequel that no one ever really clamored for in the first place.
Bringing back James Ransone’s character did give the narrative a lot more credence and validity just by being on set. Landing somewhere between goofy and rugged, Ransone makes for a solid hero and leading man who is just trying to stay enough steps ahead of Bughuul. Shannyn Sossamon has a frantic and pained quality that she brings to the character which works quite well as she is doing everything that she can to shelter her boys and herself from her violent husband. Both Ransone and Sossamon play off each other well as fractured people trying to stay one step ahead of a life or in this case a demon that will overwhelm them.
Sinister 2 actually works as a very good jumping off point if the filmmakers ever want to turn this into a large story and it works thanks to the talent involved who turned what could have just been a lazy cash grab of a movie into a viable piece of entertainment.