Sunday 25 September 2016

Sinster 2 movie review - 'chock-full of schlocky laughs and so-bad-it’s-brilliant cringes'

Tanya Sweeney

Published 21/08/2015 | 11:08

Sinister 2
Sinister 2

‘Being in safe hands’ aren’t words that spring readily to mind when it comes to watching horror, but given that Blumhouse (the producers of The Purge, Insidious and Paranormal Activity) are the makers of this sequel, we have an array of brilliant minds and canny horror moviemakers on hand to get us squirming in our seats.

2*

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At the helm this time is Ciaran Foy, whose 2012 film Citadel singled him out as a force to be reckoned with. Gruesome little kids also featured in Citadel, and the man knows a thing or two, not just about how dark horror can get, but about creating tension with a visual style.

He can certainly pull a stylish horror film together, and with plenty of élan. Hopes were high, in a word.

Foy’s follow-up to 2012’s original Sinister film (directed by Scott Derrickson) is without the film’s original star Ethan Hawke; instead, Shannyn Sossamon leads the charge as Courtney, the mother of young twins who — guess what? — ends up living in the wrong house (in this case, next to a church where a youngster killed his family). James Ransone, meanwhile, plays the private investigator chasing Bughuul the dreaded bogeyman.

Ransone and Sossamon are dull as ditchwater... there’s a sniff of sexual chemistry between the characters, but even that becomes a bit of an embarrassing wrong turn.

Bughuul, of course, is a piece of work, prompting kids to murder their families before snatching them away to oblivion.

In this case, Courtney’s son Dylan (Robert Daniel Sloan) is in the ghoul’s crosshairs.

The soul-sucking Bughuul also encourages his victims to bust out the Super 8 camera to record their actions (“the murder is captured through art”, or something).

What horror moviemakers did before the grainy, shaky camera technique, I shall never know.

Anyway, Bughuul shows up in the most unexpected of places: as a computer virus, or on a map. In the previous Sinister outing, Bughuul was an off-camera ghoul. Sometimes, the scariest entities are those lurking in the shadows — not this time, however. Weirdly, though, Bughuul shows up more, he becomes even less malevolent.

My guess is that it’s largely unintentional on behalf of the filmmakers, but Sinister 2 is chock-full of schlocky laughs and so-bad-it’s-brilliant cringes.

When it comes to horror films, we’ve certainly been here before, many times: a family in danger, living through the American nightmare as a result of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

It’s one thing staying true to the horror genre, but quite another to stick to the rules so faithfully that we end of watching a film that’s barely distinguishable from its predecessors. It’s not often I say this but... come back Ethan Hawke, all is forgiven.

But there are plenty of jump-in-the-seat moments, but we are in such careworn territory — every tip, trick, screech and camera angle in the book is present and correct here.

It’s usually the aim of sequels to top the antics of the film that came before it. In this instance, however, it’s a tactic that the filmmakers barely bothered with.

Horror. Starring Shannyn Sossamon, James Ransone, Robert Daniel Sloan, Dartanian Sloan, Lea Coco, Tate Ellington, John Beasley. Director: Ciaran Foy. CERT: 16 

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