Eye For Film >> Movies >> Sinister 2 (2015) Film Review
Few people would disagree that Sinister was one of the best horror films of 2012, so there was always going to be demand for a sequel - which left producer Jason Blum with something of a problem, as almost everyone in that film died by the end. Almost everyone. Fortunately the one survivor was also the film's best-loved character, James Ransone's never-actually named 'Deputy So & So'. Ransone's performance turned his supporting role into something special, so it's great to see him promoted to the lead as the story resumes, and this makes perfect narrative sense too.
Not one to stand on the sidelines and let evil take its course, no matter the warning given to him by a priest in the film's opening scene, So & So has responded to the events of the first film by continuing his investigations - even after leaving the force - and attempting to break the cycle of events. In the course of this work he meets a mother (Courtney Collins) and her two boys (real life twins Robert and Dartanian Sloan) who are attempting to escape a different kind of evil. Their broken family, threatened by influential and violent husband Clint (Lea Coco), contrasts sharply with the troubled but loving heroes of the first film. It makes the children all the more vulnerable to corrupting influences, but it also opens up questions, in a story about familial murder, as to who the victims of this film's gathering darkness might be.
It's questions like this that give the film its structural depth. Early on, it seems as though it might be taking on more plot strands than it can cope with - and there's also an important layer of backstory for those paying close attention - but as the story develops it skillfully draws them together. Far from diminishing the supernatural part of the plot, the real world horror enhances it by extending some of its themes and making us care more about the characters. The twins are both superb, their natural performances keeping events believable, whilst Collins brings a complexity to the heroine that complements So & So's endearing combination of earnestness and vulnerability. As the two embark on a tentative romance, the viewer is torn between enjoying it as an escape from the increasingly sinister world the boys inhabit, and fearing its potential consequences for them both.
It's very difficult to expand on a tight story like Sinister's without diluting it, so Derrickson and Cargill are to be congratulated on a script that not only achieves this but improves on it. Wisely, they avoid extending the mythology around the demon Bughuul too much, instead focusing on strong thematic elements. A combination of Nicholas King's strong physical presence and Timothy Alverson's sharp editing ensure Bughuul stays scary and the children's home movies through which he exercises his power are all the more horrific for their clumsiness. Their childish construction highlights the elegance of Foy's work as director, which commands the viewer's attention throughout but often hides, in apparently simple framing, detail whose importance won't become apparent until much later. This is not a film you can afford to take your eyes away from.
Sinister 2 shows that with good writing, good acting and high production values, horror doesn't need to be mainstream cinema's poor relation. This is one of the best genre pieces of the year.Reviewed on: 24 Dec 2015
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