Beware Children At Play
In 2012, director Scott Derrickson crafted a great brooding atmospheric horror with Sinister. Now two years later after the success of the first film, an inevitable sequel has made it’s way to the silver screen. Derrickson has moved on to bigger things with the upcoming Doctor Strange and in his place steps Ciarán Foy. Despite a change in director, Derrickson and partner C. Robert Cargill return to write the feature after collaborating on the first. So is the return of Baghuul as effective as his first stint with his 8mm snuff films? Well…
One thing is for certain Baghuul remains a mysterious and intriguing horror character who certainly has a presence on screen. One of the reasons for that is the seldom visual use of his character throughout both films. It’s an effective ploy which doesn’t make you bored of seeing the bogeyman. Unfortunately when we do come across him it is primarily in the same form as we see him in the first film, now this is to be expected however when it comes to delivering the scares they also occur in the exact same way, making his appearances in scenes predictable and not scary.
One thing I did not like about this second outing was the over reliance on the 8mm snuff films shot by the children who go on to kill their families. In the first film they were incredibly effective and unsettling, but here they just feel exploitative. Reason being they last a lot longer than those in the first film and at times a bit too creative. There are also no attempts to build atmosphere in the films, in the first you are investigating the footage alongside Ethan Hawke’s character as he tries to decipher what is going, looking out for Baghuul & symbols. But in the second film, they are there solely to shock and show murder.
There are sequences during the second film that show promise and exhibit inventive qualities, the torch scene with James Ransome being one of them. However these good scenes are already on show in the trailers, taking away any sort of surprise element and decreasing the effectiveness when watching the film in its entirety. Derrickson & Cargill have also tried to keep the story unique and different to the first, by showing the events of Baghuul’s abduction of children from the view of one of the children. The results are indifferent, we get a story that isn’t a repeat of the first but we are also exposed to the supernatural world a lot more, which unsurprisingly lowers fear.
Come the end of the film, despite the writers best efforts and the similar vibe to the first film with its imagery, musical score and characters, Sinister 2 lacks the atmosphere of it’s predecessor and comes across more of a stick horror film than it should. Fans of the original have plenty to like here, but don’t expect something of the same calibre as the first.