sinister 2 poster

Director: Ciaran Foy

Genre: Supernatural Horror

Release: 2015

Reviewing Blumhouse content is becoming much like counting sheep, and whilst the company has essentially cemented itself as the face of streamlined horror for the 21st century, it has also taken on some really fantastic side projects in the process (WHIPLASH and THE GIFT). It’s hard to be upset with a production powerhouse that has essentially found a format to cleverly fund great projects through low-budget horror, and thus it’s easy to forgive the awkward missteps such as INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 3 and OUIJA. However, one can dream that a little more effort could be put into making inventive horror films, especially with all the potential that’s floating around.

sinister 2 kids

Everyone was very excited to be invited to a screening of OUIJA 2

An interesting thing to note is that SINISTER really wasn’t a film that warranted franchising. It was essentially a concept that profited off of its intriguing detective work. Once the puzzle was solved by the end of the film, there wasn’t all too much left to say. Credit must be given where credit is due though; SINISTER 2 does, in fact, manage to keep the mystery alive and allows for some interesting further dissection of the Bughuul mythos. And although it’s not quite as exhilarating as the first time around, there is something fun about learning about a demon that functions in a slightly more distinct way than the average house-haunting, human-possessing spirit.

sinister 2 baghul

And bears a striking resemblance to Michael Jackson

SINISTER 2 is not absolutely abhorrent, and one can surely do worse in a genre so over-saturated with complete rubbish, but to put it bluntly, this 2015 outing just isn’t scary, and doesn’t hold up to its clever, sharply designed prequel. Perhaps it’s unfair to judge whether or not something is scary to an audience, but what can’t be denied is that SINISTER 2 doesn’t try anything new in its approach to scare tactics, recycling much of its snuff-film meets blockbuster-cinema formula to mostly mixed results. Bughuul fails to feel menacing because he has little-to-no impact on the narrative. Whilst the first installment relied on Bughuul haunting the living Hell out of Ethan Hawke, SINISTER 2 sidelines him for a group of children that are far from threatening, also resulting in some of the weakest acting from any Blumhouse release.

sinister 2 circle

The one on the right is particularly putrid

Oddly enough, the character writing is where SINISTER 2 really shines, but the pathetically weak dialogue ruins the interesting archetypes. The reason that the film’s family moves into the Bughuul-infested home is clever and the study on domestic abuse is actually a really fascinating subject for a horror film, but unfortunately, it’s never tackled with any real intellectual weight. Furthermore, the abusive father-figure feels like a shamefully wasted opportunity for some great horror and gore. This is doubly disappointing once viewers are exposed to the absolutely fantastic rat-based snuff-film, a segment which presents some great use of practical gore effects.

sinister 2 rat

It involves rats, bowls, and hot coals

Unfortunately, it’s somewhat to be expected, as it’s an inherent quality of the SINISTER series to waste some great potential. For example, the snuff-film portions would be absolutely horrifying if they’d play out muted. Unless Bughuul is also a DJ on the side, he should absolutely be crediting the music used in his short films.

SINISTER 2 is a barrage of wasted potential for a horror film, but it does mix things up a little bit thanks to some very welcome comedic levity, allowing for the film to distance itself from the straight-faced antics of most forgettable horror films. Nonetheless, SINISTER 2 should have been terrifying, and the fact that the film expands on its mythology by explaining the currents in which Bughuul traveled prior to the advent of film is both fascinating and a great opportunity for further sequels. Much like with INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 3, here’s to hoping that the profits from SINISTER 2 bring audiences another WHIPLASH, and if a SINISTER 3 is made, lets pray that the fascinating mythology is taken better advantage of in the future.

This review originally appeared here.

Verdict: Do Not Recommend

"When I make love, I realize eating steak was the preferable alternative." Sergio is the Crossfader Film Editor and a film connoisseur from Romania. He pretends to understand culinary culture enough to call himself an LA foodie, but he just can't manage to like scallops.

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