By Melissa Antoinette Garza
I wanted to see SINISTER 2 (2015) for quite a while. Unfortunately, neither my brother Geno nor my husband Steve were fans of the original. Since I watch so many horror movies with them, I try to watch films of a different genre when I’m alone. They just put it off for too long so I opted to watch it by myself.
Admittedly, I wasn’t impressed with the trailer, but I thought the first movie was awesome. Therefore, I decided to give this one a chance. I was crossing my fingers because after the disaster that was DON’T BREATHE (2016), I needed a good movie. I’m happy to say that not only did SINISTER 2 meet my expectations, but it exceeded them. It did everything a horror film should do.
SINISTER 2 begins with Courtney Collins (Shannyn Sossamon) and her two sons Dylan (Robert Daniel Sloan) and Zach (Dartanian Sloan) living on a farm in effort to escape her abusive husband Clint (Lea Coco).
Meanwhile, the deputy from the first film, reprised by James Ransone, has lost his job. He spends his time researching the murders and picking up where Ellison (Ethan Hawke) left off. With the knowledge that Ellison had, he knows the pattern and begins burning down the vacant houses that are cursed.
He is told that the farm that Courtney is staying on is vacant and goes to burn it down, but it is there he meets the Collins family. Courtney explains she is escaping Clint because he beat Dylan so badly that he ended up in a hospital. Though Clint is physically stronger, the deputy’s knowledge of the law helps when Clint finds them and illegally attempts to take the children.
A budding romance begins between the deputy and Courtney. Unfortunately, that isn’t the only thing occurring within the household. Dylan sees evil dead children who have killed their entire families per Bughuul, aka the Boogeyman’s demands. Dylan becomes friends with them not knowing that they are truly wicked and out to hurt him. He watches their homemade snuff films, but is sickened each time. I can certainly understand why. The snuff films are truly frightening! They were genuinely disturbing!
Zack is jealous of the relationship Dylan has with the dead kids as he can see them too. Dylan is a bad seed, who seemingly takes after his father. He beats the hell out of his brother and forces him to admit that he’s weak. Dylan can’t help but feel that way because he is unable to even kill a spider. The dead kids use the animosity between the brothers, preying on Dylan’s inner turmoil of always getting beaten, and Zack’s rage when he is shunned by the dead kids.
The Sloan twins were perfect in their roles. Robert was completely sympathetic as Dylan. I felt so badly for the child. In their introductory scene, I was concerned. The opening sequence used a lame jump scare while Dylan was in bed. Moments later the boys are in a grocery store acting horribly. Anyone who has ever worked in retail or even shopped, would just want to strange the duo. So, it was an uphill battle for Robert to get the audience on his side. Shockingly, he did so minutes later. It wasn’t only his tragic backstory, but the way in which Robert expressed the pain it caused with his backstory.
Dartanian had a different feat. He needed to portray Zack as a child who was descending into darkness. It’s easy to dislike children. Since Dylan was such a sensitive boy that the viewers automatically wanted to protect, Zack’s bullying is reprehensible. Still, in the early scenes Dartanian ensures that his actions are forgivable ones. He expresses remorse until he had none. When Zack’s true nature is reveal, it’s quite terrifying. I won’t spoil anything other than to say, Dartanian reveals it with a simple yet demonic smile.
The leader of the dead kids, Milo (Lucas Jade Zumann) was also spot-on in his role. The character was based on Isaac from CHILDREN OF THE CORN (1984) which is obvious. Still, Zumann made the role his own and ran with it. Milo’s diabolical depravity was magnificently communicated by Zumann’s style and purposeful expressions.
There is one thing I must disclose about the character of Milo. During the entire film, he reminded me of conservative commentator Ben Shapiro. Every time Milo came on, I’d say “BAD BABY SHAPIRO!” Now, I love Ben Shapiro! I agree with quite a bit of what he says, but he looks like a villain. I’ve said it before and this film proves it! There is something about his smirk, his hair and the squint in his eyes that “THIS MAN IS EVIL!” Thankfully, his intelligence and wit makes me forget about his appearance…. wait a minute, that’s just what Damien did in OMEN III: THE FINAL CONFLICT (1981)! Kidding! I don’t think Shapiro is a demon. He just looks like one.
Bringing it back to SINISTER 2, there are just so many aspects I loved about this film. All the main characters had depth. James Ransone made the deputy into such a lovable protagonist. He stood up to the bad guy even though he was physically weaker. He helped Dylan and earned his trust. He made Courtney feel safe. He was a modern-day hero. Sure, over-the-top feminists will complain that the story with Courtney is the standard damsel-in-distress formula, but they’re wrong. Abused women often repeat the pattern, here we saw a woman who didn’t. She wanted to be with a nice guy. Also, she found her strength with the help of both Dylan and the deputy. At the dinner with Clint, when he tries to literally force-feed her son, her rage finally explodes. Sossamon didn’t portray Courtney like a weak, ditsy girl who wanted to be saved. Courtney was a woman desperate to protect her kids by any means necessary. She was a woman who was willing to take the help of anyone who could assist her. The romance between Courtney and the deputy felt natural and right.
SINISTER 2 did everything that DON’T BREATHE didn’t. Their characters have depth and a strong backstory that viewers are drawn in by. One aspect I enjoyed was their fictionalized version of UVB-76 (THE BUZZER). UVB-76 is a mysterious radio transmission that buzzes and sometimes numbers in Russian are read aloud. It was first heard in the 1973 and it continues to this day. SINISTER 2 took that information, incorporated it in their film, created an actual radio that was causing a paranormal activity, and the numbers read were the coordinates to the homes where the families were massacred. I strongly suggest people read about the real UVB-76. It’s very interesting and though we’ve been given some explanations as what it could be, the mystery surrounding it is still unknown.
As for pulling ideas from different sources and making it their own, they admittedly used quite a few concepts from CHILDREN OF THE CORN. That said, they use it phenomenally.
I can’t suggest this movie enough. Even if you disliked the first, you’ll enjoy this one. It’s different enough and adds more to Bughuul’s history. Much of the focus is on the dead children, but they all do a phenomenal job at adding tension. My only qualm is the CGI effects on the dead kids when they show their true side. It’s the same grey look that films like THE GRUDGE (2004) popularized. It’s just doesn’t invoke fear. Practical effects would have been far scarier.
Other than that, it’s a fantastic film! It’s available for purchase on AMAZON and VUDU or for rent at REDBOX. I’d certainly suggest purchasing it as it is something that any horror fan would watch far more than once.
Scared Stiff Rating: 8.5/10