Sinister 2: proof that the critics don’t always get it right

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Ex Deputy So and So (played by James Ransone) investigates a church where a serial murder took place in "Sinister 2"

Will Sills, Staff Reporter

In 2012, “Sinister” shocked audiences, and me, as to how good it was. It put films such as “The Last Exorcism” and “Insidious” to shame. Complete shame. “Sinister” was well acted (mainly by Academy Award Nominee Ethan Hawke), had great music, and a chilling atmosphere.

It was only a matter of time before “Sinister 2” would be released, and when it was, critics took a dump all over it. Sitting at a 13 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, the film was apparently so bad that “Transporter Refueled,” a horrible, generic action flick, has a higher rating (with a magical 18 percent).

Was the film actually worse than the fourth “Transporter” film? No. Not by a long shot. I watched that “gem” on the computer, and it put me to sleep faster than a lullaby and some graham crackers.

I have seen some bad movies. Some really bad movies. “Battlefield Earth” bad. “Sinister 2,” at its worst, was okay. For the most part, however, it was actually quite good.

The film is set in “Children of the Corn,” Illinois, and follows Courtney (played wonderfully by Shannyn Sossamon) and her two boys, the good boy Dylan (played by Robert Daniel Sloan) and his brother Zach (played by real-life brother Dartanian Sloan), who’s such a brat that not even Lassie would save him. The family resides in a small, rundown house where a grisly murder took place. They reside in the house in order to escape from her husband (Lea Coco), who is straight out of a Nicholas Sparks’ novel. Deputy So and So (played by James Ransone) returns as he realizes Bughuul, the demon from the first film who makes The Blair Witch look like The Wicked Witch of the West, is haunting the family.

While the plot is quite run of the mill, the thing that completely stands out is James Ransone’s performance. This guy was so good in the first film that writers Scott Derrickson and C. Robert Cargill decided to make him the main character in this one. This guy completely owns the film, and reminds me of a mixture between actors Tom Hiddleston and Sam Rockwell. The film would not have been the same without him. Not by a long shot.

Actress Shannyn Sossamon’s performance also stands out as being rather good, particularly reminding me of Jamie Lee Curtis from the original “Halloween.” She plays a fantastic Robin to Ransone’s Batman.

In addition to the acting, the atmosphere is bloody brilliant (pun intended), the score is once again haunting, and the “tapes” which show the ways in which the families are murdered are once again creepy and creative.

All that said, “Sinister 2” still suffers from several major issues.

The major issue with the film for me was the dad subplot. As I previously mentioned, it feels as if it were lifted straight out of one of Sparks’ books. The dad is played in the most clichéd, over the top violent way, and he is played horribly by Lea Coco. This guys character never felt intimidating like he was supposed to; instead, he felt like the intentional jerk that you can’t wait to see meet his death.

Then there were the kid actors. A few of their performances were pretty decent (Robert Daniel Sloan and Lucas Jade Zumann, who felt like he was auditioning for the lead role in the inevitable “Children of the Corn” remake as the evil kid leader in the film), but the rest sucked, in particular Dartanian Sloan. His character throughout the movie is always picking on his little brother, who the ghost kids claim is “better” than he is. I can’t help but think that was the writers telling the kid he sucks. He also felt like he should be in a “Corn” film, except one of the cheap, straight-DVD-ones that air on Chiller or the Syfy channel.

“Sinister 2” definitely could have been better, but it also could have been a lot worse. It could have been “Insidious: Chapter 2” bad. The film doesn’t live up to the first film and really is not scary, but the acting (for the most part), the writing, the atmosphere, the score, and, most importantly, the effort help this film stand out in a year that so far hasn’t had any really solid horror flicks.

 

Grade: B+

 

Director: Ciaran Foy

Stars: James Ransone, Shannyn Sossamon, Lea Coco, Robert Daniel Sloan, Dartanian Sloan

Runtime: 1 hour, 37 minutes

MPAA Rating: R for strong violence, bloody and disturbing images, and language

Genre(s): Horror, Thriller, Mystery, Suspense, Supernatural