Though the previews may deceive you, this is not a Slender Man movie – if you’re not familiar with Slender then please look him up, it’s well worth the laugh. This is the sequel to 2012’s sleeper hit Sinister. The original was suspenseful and tastefully eerie, an indulgence to those who love creepy cinema. Sinister 2, however, doesn’t take its time like its predecessor and feels very thin and superficial.
The movie relies on darkness and fast camera angle switches for most of its scares. These are expected, but become stale very quickly when it’s the only tactic being used to “horrify” me. It’s sad, too, because the story has something there: A boy being haunted by children spirits (Robert Daniel Sloan), his brother (Dartanian Sloan) who’s jealous that he wasn’t chosen, an abusive father (Lea Coco), a nurturing but tired mother (Shannyn Sossamon), a spooky spirit that possesses children to murder, and a hero private investigator (James Ransone). But instead of putting all these elements to clever use to create the creepiness and tension, the writers opted for clichés and predictable developments.
The story is also plagued with plot holes towards the end, and it seemed to me that there were discrepancies between this movie and the original. After leaving the theater, I found myself questioning key scenes, trying to figure out how one scene turned into the next, and ultimately just gave the movie the benefit of the doubt – something I don’t like to do.
However, I did like watching James Ransone. He’s very charming on screen. It’s like watching a really nice, really cool dad. His character had the most versatility: he’s protective and vulnerable, he makes jokes and gets scared. He’s one of the only characters who had a range of emotions which may be why he shined a bit brighter than the other actors. The two brothers along with Sossamon do a decent enough job, too. The only problem is that the characters are so static and forgettable.
And that’s the biggest problem with the movie in general. It’s forgettable. I saw it two days ago and when I sat down to write this review, I could barely remember most of it. This is not to say there aren’t satisfying parts, because there are. There are also parts that will make you jump. But that’s about all there is, a couple satisfying lines and a scare or two.
Overall, Sinister 2 seems like a rushed cop-out, banking on you loving the original or being intrigued enough by its jumpy preview. There’s just not a lot of substance. I found myself waiting through the dialogue to get to the jump-scares which were unfulfilling anyway. Sinister 2 is mediocre at best.