Truly sinister performances. One of the most memorable things about the first Sinister was the performances- particularly from Ethan Hawke who honestly rivaled Jack Nicholson’s iconic performance from The Shining; at least in terms of sheer psychological unease. It was great and helped the film elevate its already extremely high creepiness. Here, the performances range from ‘okay’ to ‘cinematic kryptonite’. James Ransone and Shannyn Sossamon as the two levelheaded adult characters in the film and they work with what they have. They have a few simple scenes with a good amount of chemistry but are ultimately uninspired and bland. The children playing Sossamon’s sons in the film are pretty terrible, but nothing compared to the acting that comes from the young actors who portray the ghost children that haunt the property. They are completely over the top and are about as believable as a bunch of kindergartener’s trying to reenact the Thanksgiving feast in a crappy elementary school. It’s so campy that it’s laughable; but unfortunately due to the tone of the rest of the film, it’s never any fun to watch.
Horrific in all the wrong ways. The reason why so many people enjoyed the first film was all because of the atmosphere and terrific mythology Derrickson created behind the camera. Unfortunately, all of that is lost here. We don’t really get anything new explained to us and there isn’t anything that expands upon the rules previously established in the previous film. Just like the first film, there is a general unease throughout the film- but because of the campiness of the acting, the seriousness of the film is thrown right out the window and the film has sunk itself.
It’s well shot, I guess? The film is shot pretty nicely. There isn’t unfortunately, a whole lot of variety when it comes right down to it. The film is set in literally one location, and besides the few scenes inside of a hotel room or grocery store- the only thing we get to see is cornfields and the insides of darkly lit houses. There is one shot that is very creative and super eerie, it really makes you wonder what happened to that same creativity during the rest of the production.
Crazily unsatisfying. It seems nearly impossible to make a horror film that has a really good ending (The Babadook and It Follows are the only two in recent memory that do) and Sinister 2 is no exception. The ending to the film is so abrupt and cheap it feels like the writers had no idea where the characters would end up and were making it up on the spot. “Oh, no. This script is already 110 pages long- I guess should just end it right here on the 111th page before it gets too long. Yeah, that’ll have to work.” The ending leaves the already bitter aftertaste from the rest of the film, with an even more bitter aftertaste that makes you want to yell at the chef and ask for your money back.