Sinister 2 (2015)

(On Cable TV, July 2016) I should know better by now than to expect horror sequels to be any good. Too often, the magic spark of the successful original is either never recaptured or beaten to a pulp, the gimmicks (i.e.; death sequences) taking over the particularity of the predecessor. So it is that Sinister 2 focuses on the wrong aspects (such as the home videos of families being killed, the Bughuul myth, the jump-scare from the screen) while being unable to re-create whatever worked in the original. The atmosphere that was such an integral part of the first Sinister feels rote, and the plot, while trying to be fresh, doesn’t offer much satisfaction. Entire swaths of the film pass unnoticed and unremarkable on the way to an ending that doesn’t manage to raise itself above mediocrity. There is still a bit of achieved potential in how the kids become the antagonist’s instruments of execution, and in the manner in which they figure out how to get rid of the evil in the end. James Ransone does his best as the protagonist, and Shannyn Sossamon is a welcome presence even years after leaving the mainstream path. Still, much of Sinister 2 feels like an imposed exercise, running through the motions in the hopes of striking fire again. It is far too well executed to be a bad horror movie, but it’s not much of an achievement either.

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