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Sinister 2 (2015)
Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Blu-ray Disc Released: 1/5/2016
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 1/25/2016
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As the Carolina Panthers make their way to Super Bowl 50, there has been a lot of talk about confidence and being cocky. What's the difference? I think that most people would agree that confidence is the personal belief that you can accomplish a goal, while you would be labeled as cocky if you let everyone else know that you can accomplish a goal. (I personally don't mind the Panthers being cocky, as it's been a long time coming.) Can we label movies as cocky? In the instance of Sinister 2 we can, as the movie has the confidence to move forward as a sequel and it does not care if you've seen the first movie...or about much of anything else for that matter.
Sinister 2 introduces us to Courtney (Shannyn Sossamon), a woman who has moved to an isolated farm with her two sons, Dylan (Robert Daniel Sloan) and Zach (Dartanian Sloan), to escape from her abusive husband. Dylan begins to talk to ghostly children which he sees around the house. They invite him to the basement to watch home movies which depict families being brutally murdered. In fact, one of the murders occurred in the church which is adjacent to the farmhouse. Meanwhile, a former police deputy (James Ransone) is traveling the country, searching for homes in which murders, like those featured in the home movies which Dylan watched, have taken place. Once he finds a house, he burns it to the ground. His search leads him to the farm and he's surprised to find it occupied. He attempts to convince Courtney that her family is in danger. Will she listen to him?
I know that I saw 2012's Sinister, but I don't remember very much about it, save for Ethan Hawke watching home movies and an evil being appearing in them. As I sat down to watch Sinister 2, I assumed that there would be some sort of recap to refresh my memory. Nope! The movie simply takes off and does its own thing, showing no concern that I couldn't recall details about the first movie. I honestly could not tell if it was so convinced that I'd seen and memorized Sinister that it didn't matter, that the movie simply didn't care, or if there was some sort of legal issue which kept the makers of Sinister 2 from getting any footage from the first movie. (As it's the same production company, this seems unlikely, but, with Hollywood, you never know.) This borders on being a moot point, as Sinister 2 comes very close to being a sequel in name only. The only character from the first film to appear here is the deputy, who, and I'm not making this up, is listed in the credits as "Deputy So & So". All of the other characters are new. The plot is similar, as far as I can tell, but we get far less of the demon here.
What we do get is a movie which is a jumbled mess. As it fails to tell us what is happening, we get scene after scene of Dylan and Zach fighting, Dylan talking to ghosts, and the Deputy looking worried. I told my wife that the movie should have been called, "What Does This Have to do With Anything?", as that's what I said after each scene. The Deputy goes to see a scientist who talks about Ham radios, Courtney paints a chair, the ex-husband shows up...the scenes come and go as they please with no concern for telling a coherent story. Things really fall apart in the last few minutes. I won't give anything away, but there must be a lot of missing footage, as a group of people move from one place to another with no explanation, and then someone gets hit by a car and then gets up as if nothing has happened.
Sinister 2 is one of those movies which you watch and wonder if the editor had some sort of grudge, as there's no way that a competent adult could have put this movie together and thought that it added up to anything. One of the few things which I do remember about Sinister was that it had some creepy images. We get nothing like that here, and the home movies are simply piggy-backing on those seen in the original. Director Ciaran Foy's first filmCitadel was a pretty good low-budget shocker. Perhaps he felt pinned in by the rules of this being a sequel (although I honestly can't imagine that being the case), and couldn't spread his wings. No matter what, someone is to blame for this being some a mess of a movie. Again, I wasn't a fan of Sinister, but I readily acknowledge that the demon was creepy and the potential for a serviceable sequel was definitely there. Maybe they should have let one of the ghost kids film the movie. They do have experience.
Sinister 2 also assumes that young children in 2015 have any idea what a film projector is on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Universal Studios Home Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 34 Mbps. The image is sharp and clear, showing no overt grain (save for the home movies) and no defects from the source materials. The colors look good, most notably in the grocery store scene, and the image is never over dark or bright. The level of detail is good, as the image is never soft, and the depth looks good, as we get a lot of rack focus here. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 4.5 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The track makes the most of modern horror movie sounds, as we "shock" sounds from the subwoofer, as well as multiple sound effects which come from the front and rear channels to signal sounds coming from off-screen. Some of these effects isolate individual sounds very nicely.
The Sinister 2 Blu-ray Disc contains a small assortment of extra features. We begin with an AUDIO COMMENTARY from Director Ciaran Foy. The Disc contains five DELETED SCENES which run about 9 minutes. We do get a scene here which attempts to tie this film to Sinister. Why wasn't this left in? Otherwise, we get more scenes which don't gel. "Extended Kill Films" is exactly what it sounds like, as it offers longer versions of the six home movies seen in the film. "Time to Watch Another: The Making of Sinister 2" (10 minutes) is a fairly standard featurette which contains interviews with the cast and creative team and some on-set footage.
Review Copyright 2016 by Mike Long