In the spirit of the original Ringu films and its remakes, which imagined avant-garde cinema as terror mechanism, Sinister and its sequel thrive on spooking audiences with all things antiquated. Though Bughuul, the demonic pied piper in Tommy Wiseau drag introduced in Scott Derrickson’s Sinister, is capable of having his mind-numbingly rote jump-scare-a-thon transferred onto Apple devices, the main delivery system for his infectious shtick remains intimate viewings of silent Super 8 films scored to music playing from vintage record players. In short: a millennial’s worst nightmare. In Ciarán Foy’s Sinister 2, this casual contempt for all things retrograde is made hilariously unambiguous when James Randone’s private dick meets with Dr. Stomberg (Tate Ellington), who reports that his colleague, Professor Jonas, has gone missing for his “aesthetic observance of violence.” Would that that were the film’s worst offense. In the spirit of Foy’s prior Citadel, which thoughtlessly codified the social anxieties of a lower-class milieu into its moody aesthetic spectacle, Sinister 2 perversely allows Bughuul’s hauntings to suggest the domestic abuse endured by a mother, Courtney (Shannyn Sossamon), and her twin boys, Dylan and Zach (Robert and Dartanian Sloan). Consistent with Sinister is how victims seal their fate by subjecting themselves to the snuff films made by the children Bughuul takes into his mysterious dominion, except here the dead take center stage as hucksters, manipulating Dylan and Zach in a manner that, intentionally or not, brings to mind the psychological and physical abuse of the twins’ father (Lea Coco). Foy, offensively, neither thinks critically or poignantly enough about this parallel, specifically the engine by which the almost superfluous Bughuul is able to harness Dylan and Zach’s real-life anxieties to his scare tactics so that the twins almost willfully welcome their own destruction. As such, Sinister 2 merely exudes an aura of cheap manipulation by which the audience is simply asked to rank the film’s characters on a d-bag scale and root for their survival, or destruction, accordingly.
- Gramercy Pictures
- 97 min
- Ciarán Foy
- Scott Derrickson, C. Robert Cargill
- James Ransone, Shannyn Sossamon, Robert Daniel Sloan, Dartanian Sloan, Lea Coco, Tate Ellington, John Beasley, Lucas Jade Zumann, Jaden Klein, Laila Haley, Caden M. Fritz, Olivia Rainey, Nicholas King
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