On the poster, above the Sinister 2 title, written in red and white typeface, are the words ‘From the Producer of The Purge, Paranormal Activity, and Insidious.’ Most people only need one reason not to see a film; this sentence gives you three.
However, change that to ‘From the Producer of Whiplash, The Normal Heart, and The Reader’ and chances are you’d at least be intrigued.
Well, surprise, it’s the same man: Jason Blum, founder of Blumhouse Productions.
Although Sinister 2 fits tonally with the first batch, in terms of quality it belongs with the second. Just about, though.
The film follows a mother and her twin sons, who live in a country house where murders have taken place. Soon twin #1, Dylan, finds his sleep rudely interrupted by a group of dead children, who urge him to watch extremely violent home movies, their end-goal kept unclear.
Sinister 2 so very nearly veers off into that quiet-quiet-loud! crap made popular by the Paranormal franchise. It opens with a jump scare and ends with a jump scare but luckily that’s the extent of it.
It doesn’t assault your senses in the manner that Insidious does, and so may not be deemed as scary (by idiots). What we’re given instead is brooding tension, atmosphere, and dread i.e. the things that constitute a good horror film.
A jump scare relieves the nervousness; no jump scares compound the terror.
The most surprising aspect of Sinister 2 is how it actually has a strong story. There are reveals and twists and character development, instead of just slow camera turns and loud bangs.
This is probably due to the supernatural aspect taking somewhat of a backseat. Yes, the Boogeyman features, but it’s more of a cameo, what the studios would call a ‘small but pivotal role.’
Instead it’s the human facet that takes centre stage. And all the better. You can go to sleep easy after watching the demonic nonsense of The Conjuring, but when it’s a human who drills into your brain via your gums, it’s significantly scarier.
The film feels like a jigsaw puzzle, and only by the end does the picture become clear, showing us an image we’d rather not see.
Directed by IADT-graduate Ciaran Foy, Sinister 2 is welcomingly story heavy and light on boo! moments. Having already worked out his next deal with Blumhouse, hopefully Foy will become a horror mainstay.
Sinister 2 is exactly what the title suggests: twice as sinister. Shocking and haunting, and always a bonus when there’s an Irishman involved.
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