Sinister 2 is a rare breed — a sequel that I enjoy more than the film that proceeded it. Ciaran Foy directed it from a script that was co-written by the original film’s writer and director, Scott Derrickson. James Ransome is the only character that returns as Deputy So & So.
The movie starts with one of those Super 8 films from the original, as a family is hung like scarecrows before being burned alive. It’s a nightmare in the mind of nine-year-old Dylan, who is on the run from his abusive father, along with his mom (Shannyn Sossamon, A Knight’s Tale) and twin brother Zach.
Each night, Dylan is visited by a gang of ghostly children led by Milo. They make him watch all manner of horrifying movies where alligators devour families and rats eat their way through parents’ stomachs.
The deputy is now a private detective on the trail of the murders from the first film, including the Oswalt family. He figures out that an abandoned farmhouse is the first of the homes infected, so he heads out to burn it to the ground, before learning that Dylan and his family are living inside it.
The deputy falls for Dylan’s mom and also is given a ham radio that once belonged to occult investigator Professor Jonas, who has disappeared. The radio came from a Norweigan family that was killed in 1973. There’s a recording of the family where a young girl yells about Bughuul.
That boogieman is now targeting Zach, not Dylan, using his jealousy and the abusive nature of his father to destroy the family. When his birth father kidnaps them all, he takes advantage and crucifies them in a cornfield, setting his father ablaze. Only after the deputy destroys the haunted camera does the carnage stop, with Bughuul arriving to destroy the young boy.
If only the film ended there. The jump scare at the end where Bughuul appears in the deputy’s motel room feels out of character and a cheap way to milk a sequel out of this idea, but hey — what do you expect?
That said, this movie has even more haunted Super 8 films — well, these ones are shot on 16mm stock — and some pretty decent attempts at frightening its audience. It’s also pretty much a cover version of Children of the Corn. I prefer how the original film was more enigmatic about Bughuul and his motivations, but this movie really amps up the intensity. I saw it at a drive-in, which is quite possibly the best way to see an escapist horror film, right?