Posted on August 24, 2015

Sinister 2 (2015) Film Review: The Critics Got It Wrong

Gwen

R   |   2015   |   97 min   |   (USA)   |   Ciaran Foy

Review: Ripe with commentary on the American family, Sinister 2 is scary but won’t leave you scared.

Synopsis: An abused woman and her twin sons moved into an abandoned home that holds unexpected inhabitants.

Grade: B

Disclaimer: This review could be way better if I wasn’t so afraid I would leak all the spoilers!

The negatives: I don’t really have too many since I really enjoyed this movie. If you are expecting a ton of blood and guts or slasher-type pacing, then you might be disappointed. If you did not see the first film, you will be a little lost. There is still much to learn about Bughuul, he really remains a mystery. There are a few completely useless new plot points.  The ending well…it left a little to be desired.

The positives: This film fills in a lot of gaps from the first installment. The characters are likeable, the young brothers are well cast (Robert and Dartanian Sloan), the death scenes creative, and at the end I was left feeling good and hoping for the next installment. Finally, the film was rich with commentary on childhood, families, and parenting (which I love).

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What I really think: I absolutely loved this movie. After the film, I felt a sense of satisfaction in a couple of things which I will review to the best of my ability without spilling the beans. I felt as if this film answered a lot of logistical questions I had throughout the first Sinister. Secondly, this movie had one death scene that will certainly top my list of top ten memorable death scenes. Without revealing too much, you will recognize it when the rats come out. I kind of felt really good about the people who were killed/injured/tortured in this movie. And there was at least one time that I clapped my hands and shouted with glee when someone got injured as it was unexpected, well played, and atypical for the genre.

This film is rich with social commentary: I am a huge fan of bloody, gory, cheesy horror flicks. But my absolute favorite thing about horror is its unparalleled ability to dissect the world we live in. Let’s just start with the fact that Sinister 2 pays homage to Night of the Living Dead (1968) by showing the clip on TV of Karen Cooper devouring her father. This alone sets the scene for ripe generational analysis and closer examination of the representations of the American family.[i] On the surface, the film appears to suggest that allowing children to watch horrific images/movies will have murderous repercussions.  After they watch the films, they go off and kill. However, this is way too simplistic (not to mention counter intuitive to the interests of this film). Moreover, it appears the film suggests the origination of the horrific within in the film comes from inside the family. Therefore, off camera the families themselves have enacted horrific omissions, actions or inactions which become the source of the children going astray. (If you recall from the first film, Ellison Oswalt was a pretty crappy father.)

Again, I don’t want to spoil things but you get a sense from this film that there was a method to the madness of the home movies in both Sinister and Sinister 2. Almost as if those who died committed some type of mortal sin against another family member. Whether it was through their action or inaction, Bughuul has his minions hold the transmitters of both these sins equally responsible. After seeing Sinister 2 I stand by my review of the first film.[ii] I almost feel that Bughuul is the executioner of social Darwinism by managing the productive vs non-productive members of the family. Nonetheless, this film speaks to the ways the children can and do take over the power of the household as much as it makes us ponder the level of innocence in some children today.

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[i] For a greater understanding of NOTLD and Karen Cooper, please follow this link to a well written blog: http://www.btchflcks.com/2014/11/self-made-orphan-why-we-cringe-when-karen-cooper-snacks-on-her-dad.html#.Vdp9TcuFNMs

[ii] “If anything Bughuul is doing society the favor or remedying the wrongs of neglectful, weak parents by eliminating both the product and the cause” http://www.horrorhomeroom.com/sinister-2012-offers-an-unintentional-hero/

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