It’s always nice to go to the movies with someone else instead of by yourself but the trade-off with that is that sometimes they get to pick the movie. The horror genre mystifies me. I don’t get it. So how much of this review is particular to the movie and how much applies to horror movies in general, I couldn’t tell you. I’m a tourist here. I will tell you my friend didn’t think it lived up to the original Sinister. Fair enough.
There was a series of beats that happened again and again in this movie. Creepy music plays in an ordinary setting which (along with a slightly washed out film style) make the Ordinary Setting seem somehow ominous.
Character looks apprehensive. Then some minor scary thing happens. Another more major scary thing happens. Pause. Then the character braces for some hugely scary thing to happen but relief! Turns out it was a false alarm. The character relaxes and BAM! Horrifically scary and unexpectedly bizarre thing happens that was worse than anything we were prepared for. It happened so often that a half hour into the movie I found myself counting down as I following the pattern. Character braces …3..2…1… relax …2…1…BAM! Even though I could see them coming, this movie had some pee-your-pants jump scares (if you like that kind of thing). Part of the fun, I guess, is trying not to react. During a particularly good one, some teenage boys (this was 95% of the audience for this film) actually yelped and then everyone laughed because it got them.
One thing I did not like was the genuinely horrific things I witnessed. Not implied, not off-screen, not talked about but actually there in gory detail. I have no interest in watching people being tortured to death, however abbreviated it was. Likewise, I don’t feel I need to see domestic violence (one of the movie’s themes, in a way) but I have to respect the fact that they did it. It changed how I viewed the further events of the film. When bad things happened to good people (and they did) it was scary but when bad things happened to BAD people (and yes they did) I found myself relieved and satisfied in a way I’ve never gotten from another genre.
From a filmmaking standpoint (as far as I know) Sinister 2 seemed well made. That might be part of the Horror Genre too, the slightest mistake in any part of it would be extra obvious. You can forgive a Comedy after all, but if Horror is bad, it really stinks. But this film was well written. It was well paced. It was well acted – James Ransone was particularly good. His reactions to the events around him lent so much credibility to the terror of this film. His chemistry with Shannyn Sossamon was grounded and believable. And the kids – all of them were amazing. There’s something extra scary about creepy children.
Usually when judging whether or not I like a film, I ask myself if it has something to say about my life. After all, that’s why we generally like stories – they shed light on how life should be lived. So did this movie have anything to say about my life? No. But in this case that’s a very good thing. While I won’t be thinking about this movie tomorrow (and hopefully not tonight) it was still pretty entertaining.