As the ghoul from the 2012 horror hit stalks a new family, this sequel's sharply well-crafted set-up leaves the hackneyed conclusion feeling very disappointing. Up until the trite horror finale, the film is a terrific mix of complex characters and twisted relationships, with a palpable sense of underlying menace. But instead of grappling with the ramifications of the human drama, the screenwriters opt for simplistic violence instead.
The dorky deputy (James Ransone) from the first film has left the force but is still determined to stop the horror from happening again. Then he arrives at the "infected" farmhouse and finds single mother Courtney (Shannyn Sossamon) hiding out there with her feuding pre-teen sons Dylan and Zach (played by real-life siblings Robert Daniel and Dartanian Sloan). And her abusive husband Clint (Lea Coco) wants custody. But the boys have already been contacted by the creepy gang of ghost kids who have horrifically murdered their families and documented this in home movies that they show to Dylan each night. To appease the boogeyman, Dylan needs to do the same, and if he can't, they might be able to use Zach.
Frankly, Clint is a much scarier monster than the sinister spirit lurking in seemingly every dark corner in this movie. And Zach has learned from his dad how to be a seriously cruel bully. Director Ciaran Foy generates intensity in both the real-world and supernatural elements of this story, inventively creating visually stylish freak-out moments that have genuine peril attached. In this situation, the actors create strikingly authentic characters, from Ransone's likeably goofy deputy to Sossamon's steely, tenacious mother hen. And the Sloan brothers add a superb sense of sibling tension, mingling anger and frustration with real emotion. So when things begin to snap between all of them, the film becomes genuinely heart-stopping. Then the ghosts take over and it's not quite so thrilling.
Continue reading: Sinister 2 Review