Following the events of the first film, it follows the Deputy (James Ransome) who is left jobless and damaged after the events with the Oswalt family. Despite this it doesn’t stop him from trying to figure out what happened to his friend and the rest of the victims who fell to Baghul’s curse. This time he is after Courtney (Shannon Sossamon) and her two sons Dylan and Zach (Robert Daniel and Dartanian Sloan) who are in hiding from Courtney’s abusive husband. When the Deputy tracks them down Dylan is already seeing the children and the videos of Baghul’s children. It’s now up to the Deputy to save the family and stop Baghul once and for all.
Let me start off by saying that I did not care for the original film at all, it had some of the creepy tapes and atmosphere to keep it going, but other than that I found it dull and lifeless with weak acting and characters you didn’t care about. Going into the sequel I kept my expectations low. As I left the theater I was more than satisfied with what I got. If you have NOT seen the first film, you may find yourself lost, as this sequel doesn’t take its sweet time, we are thrown right into the middle of things when the events have already started and Dylan is already seeing the children and the tapes have been discovered. This is a huge relief because we already know this part of the story. So for the majority of the film we are given plenty of time to get to know our characters and actually like them and hope they get out alive. And it succeeds, I found myself genuinely caring about the family, or in one case I didn’t care about a particular one. Anyway, we are actually given plenty of time with each character and each is given their time to shine. Shannon Sossamon is amazing in the mother role of Courtney. She’s the kind of mother that isn’t phony like in most films, she seems like a genuine mother that you would come across on any day. Even in the moments of drama and terror, all of Sossamon’s character behavior and actions is real and she doesn’t take it over-the-top. Admittedly I’ve never been a huge fan of the actress but she won me over in this role.
The Sloan brothers also do a fantastic job in their breakout roles. Robert plays the more fragile son of the two who is clearly scarred by the events from his home life, and finds himself trapped in this supernatural world, he always succeeds in nailing the boy’s innocence and traumatization (again without being over-dramatic about it). Dartanian Sloan however plays the more rebellious son, Zach. Despite being twins, Zach acts as if he is much older than Dylan and enjoys tormenting him (okay, so yes, Zach is the one unlikable character of the family). Although there isn’t a whole lot of drama for Zach’s character, he does an excellent job of playing the character you love to hate, easily one of the most despicable kids in a horror film. Finally there is James Ransome as the Deputy (technically Deputy So & So). Unlike the first film, the Deputy isn’t a bumbling idiot during the whole film, granted he does have his awkward moments. However, those awkward moments more often than not come off as more realistic than anything. He’s the hero you expect from a horror film, he’s real in all respects in that he is willing to admit he’s afraid or whether he should do something or not. As for Ransome’s performance, it is also well-done. He and Sossamon have great chemistry and brings a new life to the character that we didn’t get in the first film.
Playing the “hero” of the story, Ransome perfectly establishes that he’s a man who is desperate to save this family and others from falling into this fate in the most selfless way and he doesn’t take the role super seriously by over-exaggerating his dialogue, he just plays it how any person would. In other words, all of our main cast and actors come off as very real and genuine. While this sequel doesn’t give us a great amount of atmosphere to freak us out, it uses the characters and the content of the story to get under our skin. Unfortunately it also has some weak jump scares that will only scare the weakest people in the audience. The infamous tapes are more present than they were in the first film and they occur in various moments in the build up of the film to give us some creep factor and disturb us.
The tapes, while disturbing (especially one involving rats that gave me the willies), aren’t as affecting or as shocking as the first film. I don’t know if it’s because we’ve seen them by now and know what to expect, but while they were amusing, it didn’t do much. Then there’s Baghul, who is given MUCH more screen time, and as the film progresses we see him grow more powerful and menacing, which makes him much more scary than his presence in the first. The same goes for the children, they are much more sinister (pun intended) and creepy than how they were in the first. Overall the film isn’t scary or terrifying, but more so it’s knowing what fate is about to befall this family and we are ultimately left fearing for the lives. It all leads to what I thought was a very heart-pounding finale in which I really had no idea how it was going to end. At the same time, the ending satisfying but also depressing (depending how you look at it).
Sinister 2 is a sequel that I extremely enjoyed after really disliking the first, however I’m sure many will find a reason to hate it. The story is engaging from beginning to end, it doesn’t treat the audience like they’re stupid and need a recap of Baghul and the tapes over again. It plays it smart with our characters along with the story in order to scare us, and we get the excellent performances from the cast to back that up. Though it has its weaknesses as far as the tapes and its cheap jump scares, including the SAME final scare from the end of the first (maybe a spoiler, but I saved you a groan). But to me, this sequel succeeds in strengthening where the original film had its MUCH stronger weaknesses.