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Monday, August 24, 2015

Bughuul and His Children Return In Satisfying "Sinister II"

I loved “Sinister” from the first time I saw it on DVD. I was already a fan of Director / Writer Scott Derrickson’s earlier works and was excited to see where he would go with his latest creation. He didn’t let me down and left me anticipating more as the end credits rolled.

Needless to say, “Sinister II” had a lot to live up to if it was going to even come close to topping the first film. Going into the theater, I tried to keep my expectations at bay even though I trusted writers Scott Derrickson and C. Robert Cargill in the task of following up what I consider to be one of the best horror movies of 2012. They did what I believe to be a suitable job resuming the twisted and terrifying tale of Bughuul.

In “Sinister II,” Courtney Collins (Shannyn Sossamon) is hiding from her abusive and estranged husband (Lea Coco). She lives in a rural house with her 9-year-old twins, Dylan (Robert Daniel Sloan) and Zach (Dartanian Sloan). Young Dylan receives nightly visits from ghoulish kids who show him disturbing images of families being slaughtered. It's all part of the grand plan of Bughuul (Nick King), the evil spirit who recruits innocent children to murder their loved ones. The only hope for his intended new victims may be a former deputy (James Ransone) who's familiar with Bughuul's fiendish work from the past.

I found "Sinister II" to be an enjoyable little journey into the supernatural. It played on my emotions as a father who despises the thought of anyone being abused by a family member. The jump scares were also effective even though you knew they were coming at some point.

“Sinister II” really didn't break any new ground stylistically or narratively. However, it didn't retread where we had been in its predecessor but continued to build on the mythos established therein. My attention was kept throughout its hour and a half runtime.

Bughuul and the children play a much more tangible role in "Sinister II." Director Ciaran Foy finds a great way to add variety to the appearances of the apparitions. They didn't just emerge in one form over and over again. Sometimes they would be in a physical form that you felt like you could touch. At other times, they fade into the woodwork as shadowy specters.

The acting in "Sinister II" is convincing for the most part. Robert Daniel Sloan and Dartanian Sloan are strong in the roles of the two brothers. Shannyn Sossamon brings a quiet desperation to her character, who seems ready to violently burst at any moment. Lea Coco is too good in the role of the abusive father who you hope gets what's coming for him. The only real weak link in the film is James Ransone, who returns as the lead character and main connection here to the first movie. He's just a little wooden and lacks a certain presence you feel in more seasoned actors.

"Sinister II" is rated R for strong violence, bloody and disturbing images, and language. It seemed a bit more graphic than the first movie. Some of the scenes of abuse will no doubt bother some viewers.

As an extension to the first film, "Sinister II" succeeds in moving forward and establishing a new horror icon in the tradition of Jason, Freddy, Michael, and many others. As long as writers Scott Derrickson and C. Robert Cargill continue to build on the legend of Buhguul and change things up, we could be getting new "Sinister" movies every couple of years or so on the big screen.