The original Sinister with Ethan Hawke was not a bad horror movie. It was a general ‘family moves into new house’ horror movie that had a somewhat unexpected ending. The story was simple and contained with the supernatural rules of the “Baghuul” entity made clear for the plot of the movie.
Sinister 2 has a somewhat similar plot, but has its “Baghuul” rules made more lenient and expansive to fit a sequel that doesn’t just completely redo the original. But there is the problem, the original was just an okay horror movie that didn’t need to be expanded on. The central part of the movie was the family and Ethan Hawke’s character as the father. The supernatural Baghuul thing was just the scary element that didn’t need to be expanded on.
This one’s problems don’t stop with the lack of Hawke, though. The movie is about a mother (Shannyn Sossamon) hiding from an abusive husband at a friend’s farmhouse – where a family was killed – with her twin sons. The farmhouse was a Baghuul crime scene and it has the supernatural entity’s presence with a few of its previously captured children as ghosts that try and befriend new children that move into the house. But, it’s hard to figure out who the main characters are at the start. The setup is very clunky.
The movie starts out with a murder scene, but it’s apparently a nightmare of one of the sons. Soon after, the mother and the sons go to a grocery store and are stalked by some guy for some reason. It can be assumed that it’s someone the abusive husband hired to find them, but it’s never made clear. On the other hand, there is an ex-police officer (James Ransone) that doesn’t know that the family is occupying the farmhouse (which is up for sale) and goes there with the intention of burning it down. He’s been investigating and looking for houses with a history of those murders and destroying them to try and stop this entity. But, at this point, it in no way feels that the ex-police officer is a main character. The mother sees him on the property and believes that he is a private investigator that was sent by her husband. But, after he tells her that he is a different kind of investigator and is looking into the property because of the murders that occurred there.
So, he is allowed to come back the next day and look around in the church on the property where the murders happened. And it still feels like he could be killed at any time – there is no indication that he is a main character and an eventual love interest of the mother. While he’s looking around in the creepy church, there are sounds and jump scares. There are a lot of jump scares in the movie.
The other aspect of the movie is about the twin boys. They both can see the group of ghost children (there’s only a handful of them. If that thing has been taking a child and killing families for thousands of generations, as was explained in the first movie, where are the many other kids?), but the ghost children only invite one, Milo, while his brother, Zach, is left out. They want to show Milo a bunch of Super 8mm films of their respective killings. It’s not really explained why, but I assumed it was some kind of a ritual to make Milo become one of them after he’s seen all of them. The ghost kids were scary in the first movie because they were seen very sparingly, but are characters in this one and lose their creepy novelty. Also, the premise of the first movie was that Baghuul comes through when someone watches one of the films, as Hawke’s character does, and that possesses one of his children to kill the family and then become one of the ghosts. But the rules are flexible when you need things to be scary, I guess.
Why are the twins so cavalier about seeing ghost children every night? Zack is actually jealous that Milo was chosen by the ghosts.
Eventually, the abusive dad finds them and makes threats against the mother to take away custody. But, the ex-police officer steps in to help. And the abusive father is very convenient later in the plot.
The movie is tedious. It felt irritating to watch from start to finish. From the ambiguity of who the main characters are at the start to the aggravation of the pacing makes Sinister 2 dull and forgettable. The whole thing is an empty jump scare.