Written by Scott Derrickson and C. Robert Cargill / Directed by Ciarán Foy / Starring James Ransone and Shannyn Sossamon
Upon first viewing of the 2012 film SINISTER, I was left quite perplexed. It was an extremely effective horror film with an ending that just didn’t live up to the great chills that preceded it. SINISTER set up a its own folklore, in which an entity called Bughuul lives in photos and kills anyone that sees him. Eventually the film shifts to this strange idea that any family who moves out of their spooky house is killed by one of their children. Fortunately, that giant letdown is absent from the film’s sequel, the simply titled SINISTER 2.
Within the film’s first act, it is acknowledged that the children are actually killing the families. With this out of the way, viewers do not have to fear disappointment and can focus on fearing the film itself instead. The deputy from the first film, known only as Deputy So and So (James Ransone), continues his research from the original film. In the first SINISTER, he was just a supporting character used for comic relief when Ethan Hawke’s brooding leading man act became irksome, but the sequel puts this character right in the spotlight. Deputy So and So must help a woman named Courtney (Shannyn Sossamon) and her two sons (Robert Daniel Sloan and Dartanian Sloan) before their Bughuul infested house scares them into moving.
Director Ciarán Foy takes quite the risk by making the sequel with no stars and hopefully the films jump-scare filled trailer is enough to bring audiences back. Horror sequels are often disappointing, but SINISTER 2 just works. Ransone is extremely charming, and surprisingly has the chops to be a leading man. Sossamon on the other hand is a bit annoying at first, but she won me over by the end.
Most importantly, SINISTER 2 succeeds because it is actually scary. While the film relies on the aforementioned jump scares a little too heavily, it maintains the disturbing mood that is essential for a successful horror film. Audiences will be treated to multiple examples of previous victims being killed, and those are what will really get people squirming in their seats. And while the film may not have Hawke’s over-the-top wonderfulness to fall back on, SINISTER 2 has something far more important, actual scares that carry through straight to the bloody end.