[Screen It]


(2015) (James Ransone, Shannyn Sossamon) (R)

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Horror: A mom and her twin sons are terrorized by an ancient demon, who uses children to do his murderous bidding.
Courtney Collins (SHANNYN SOSSAMON) is on the run from her abusive husband, Clint (LEA COCO), who intends to use his wealth, power, and political influence to track down her and their two twin sons, Dylan (ROBERT DANIEL SLOAN) and Zachary (DARTANIAN SLOAN). Courtney and the boys hold up in a creepy rural house that sits adjacent to a decaying, abandoned church that was the site of a grisly family murder just a few years prior.

At night, unbeknownst to Courtney, Dylan is visited by five ghost children led by the manipulate Milo (LUCAS JADE ZUMANN). Together, they lure the boy down into the basement each evening and show him snuff films in which families are slaughtered in very gruesome ways. Dylan soon learns that the mothers, fathers, and siblings that he is watching get murdered were the families of the ghost kids, and that they are being controlled by an ancient demon named Bughuul (NICHOLAS KING), who remains mostly in the shadows.

Meanwhile, ex-Deputy So & So (JAMES RANSONE) has continued to investigate the grisly deaths from the first "Sinister" movie and has been going around the country burning down houses that he suspects Bughuul has possessed. He is surprised to find Courtney and her boys living in his latest targeted house. He's even more surprised when Bughuul begins targeting him.

OUR TAKE: 3 out of 10
For films not screened for the reviewing press, we only provide a few paragraphs of critical analysis.

"Sinister 2" is a mostly tedious, would-be scary movie that contains a few decent jump scares, but is undone by a filmmaking team unable to expand on the creepy events of the first film in any interesting or unnerving way, or branch out and find new burial ground of their own. It doesn't help that they rely a LOT on a group of child actors who are just not creepy at all. At times, I felt like I was watching scenes from the Halloween-themed episodes of those awful Disney Channel and Nickelodeon kids shows Dan Schneider produces, with a bunch of mouthy urchins in cheap-o ghoul make-up.

The sequel lacks star power, too. The first had Ethan Hawke and Vincent D'Onofrio and all of their sweaty tics wigging out six different ways for the camera. The lone returnee this time is James Ransone's Deputy So & So (Seriously, that's his name in the end credits. Through two films, they haven't given this poor dude an actual name). At any rate, he's kind of a cross between Luke Wilson and David Arquette, meaning he's your classic dimwit who goes into all sorts of dark places with a spotty flashlight and ends up running out screaming in most cases.

The demon Bughuul (Nicholas King, looking like a cross between Michael Jackson and Eric Draven) is back to try and claim a whole new family, consisting of a mom (Shannyn Sossamon) and her twin sons (Robert Daniel Sloan and Dartanian Sloan) on the run from an abusive husband/father (Lea Coco, just begging to be slaughtered in every scene he's in). So, they hole up in a rural house that was the site of some gruesome murders years earlier. Director Ciaran Foy is way clumsy in his pacing throughout, lurching the story forward every 10 or 15 minutes and hoping the audience fills in the blanks and plays catch-up. And it's never explained how these demonic, little tykes are able to bound, gag, string up, and hood much larger adult characters, then come up with elaborate and grisly means of maiming and killing them. Ain't none of 'em a Culkin!

Ah well. This one's not worth the effort, folks, even if you're home alone and it comes on the TV for free. I rate it a 3 out of 10. (T. Durgin)

Reviewed August 20, 2015 / Posted August 21, 2015

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