While the inclusion of Ethan Hawke in the original movie worked as a mark of quality and a stamp of approval, in Ciaran Foy’s attempt there’s a distinct lack of venerability amongst the ranks, and to be brutally honest, you can see why. Instead James Ransone takes on the lead, reprising his role as Deputy So & So, no longer employed by the law enforcement, working for himself as a private detective – intent on getting to the bottom of this surreal series of murders, whereby a child goes missing and the remaining members of the family are savagely killed. After witnessing the demise of the Oswalt family first hand – those seemingly marked for death next, given the property they’ve moved in to, are the Collins’ – consisting of Courtney (Shannyn Sossamon) and her two young sons, played by real life twins Dartanian and Robert Daniel Sloan. As history dictates that they are the next victims of the supernatural being Bhughul, the former deputy makes it his mission to ensure their safety, before they suffer their inevitable fate.
In the majority of horror movies that are released every year, what they lack is a comprehensive, compelling narrative that is both entertaining and intelligent. Instead, many filmmakers rely on mere cheap thrills, the occasional jumpy moment to provoke a sense of anxiety in the viewer. Yet Sinister 2 has the opposite problem, as the focus on the story is almost overbearing, and as such as we deviate away from, and compromise the fear and trepidation, becoming too complex and convoluted, and at times, a struggle to adhere to.
This is, in part, down to writers Scott Derrickson and C. Robert Cargill’s assumption that the audience are well-versed in this particular world, as an established understanding of Sinister is not just preferred, but completely essential. In some ways it’s nice that we aren’t pandering to newcomers or spoon-feeding the audience in any way, but at the same time, when dealing with a narrative of this nature, a refresher would be most welcome.
What doesn’t help in regards to the audience actually feeling scared when watching this feature – is how often we are exposed to the antagonist of the piece, Bhughul himself. Such exposure merely dispels the myth, as it’s always so much more frightening when we have to imagine these supernatural beings in our minds. To be honest, it’s mainly of real detriment because he looks oddly like the lead singer of a heavy metal band, which doesn’t help.