Some of you may recall the movie Sinister. For those who don’t, let me remind you. It’s a delightful little tale about how the boogeyman is real. Ethan Hawke learns about a series of strange killings that all share one thing in common: one child went missing and was never found again, and the rest of the family was found dead.
(Also, the Boogeyman is a member of Slipknot.)
Unfortunately, Ethan Hawke doesn’t make it out of that movie alive because Deputy So and So, who puts together the most important part of the pattern of deaths, can’t get in touch with him.
Sinister has some of the usual horror movie stuff, but it also has interesting little touches that you may not initially notice. It’s put together well, and it has some neat things that make you pay attention to the background, which I always see as a big plus.
The first movie came in at over $18 million with a budget of $3 million, so what does that mean? Sequel time, you guys!
Where Sinister had those nice touches that I appreciated, Sinister 2 does something that I find very frustrating in any series of films: it breaks the set of rules in the world it already spent so much time putting together.
Let’s review those rules.
Bughuul Rules from Sinister 1
- Boogeyman “Bughuul” is real
- Boogeyman finds child when he or she moves into house where previous Boogeyman murder happened
- Boogeyman corrupts child, causing him or her to kill family
- Kid kills everybody after they move away from murder house – for some reason, kid films this on old timey camera
- Boogeyman steals child’s soul and gets awesome new bachelor pad to add to collection
- Kid’s body is never found
- Kid stuck with Boogeyman forever
In Sinister 2, there is obviously a new family, since the last one died. Deputy So and So (no really, that’s what they call him in the first movie) is no longer a cop and has made it his duty to go around burning down all of the Boogeyman’s houses. There’s a scene that seems like it should be foreshadowing something in which Ex-Deputy So and So (this is actually how his name is listed on IMDB) goes to see a priest to ask him what he should do about evil, and the priest pretty much tells him that he needs to nope out of the whole thing because part of the reason evil exists is to draw good people like our Deputy friend into it. But this is a horror movie, so Ex-Deputy ignores the priest’s expert advice because otherwise we wouldn’t have a guy from the first movie to follow into the second. Gee, I hope that priest’s advice doesn’t come back to bite him.
Yeah, I’ll just tell you right now: it doesn’t. It should, but it doesn’t.
Ex-Deputy finds another one of Bughuul’s properties, and the real estate agent tells him it’s been vacant ever since some really bad murder happened there. Sweet. Time for some constructive arson! But when he starts unloading cans of gasoline at the house, he realizes there’s a boy in the yard. It turns out that yeah, the property is still listed as vacant, but a woman is staying there with permission of the owner to hide out from her super abusive ex-husband who is such a control freak that when they eat dinner, he insists on eating before anyone else because…he’s just that much of a dick.
Sinister 1 focuses on Ethan Hawke, an author who wrote one successful book years ago and hasn’t been able to come up with much since then. He finds a bunch of old films that show families being killed in various ways. And he drinks a lot while he watches them.
Sinister 2 focuses on Bughuul and the kids. Apparently Bughuul’s collection of children helps him find new kids because I guess that’s just what you do when you’ve killed your whole family and the Boogeyman takes you to ghostland. Well, that’s new. I kind of thought he did all the work himself. Nope, this time the ghost kid entourage does it for him. They get each one of the brothers in the house to sneak into the basement on his own and watch all of these snuff films to a weird record track by telling them that it will keep them from having nightmares. Seems legit.
There are several problems here.
First of all, how do these kids know what a record is and know how to work the projector? Okay, maybe supernatural ghost ways, that’s how.
Second, I guess they needed to show a whole new set of films instead of keeping the same ones from the first movie, which would be okay except that the films are a lot more ridiculous this time. There is actually a scene where people are hanging upside-down above a lake, and an alligator jumps out of the water for no reason and bites their heads off. For those of you who didn’t grow up in Florida, I can assure you that alligators do not do that. Alligators are too lazy for that shit. Unless you are actively pissing them off, alligators just want to take naps in the sun. And don’t tell me these are possessed alligators. Bughuul gets to rule children’s minds. He’s not the alligator whisperer.
Third, how does this convince a kid to go kill his family? Is this supposed to be sending a message about violence in the media? Is Bughuul coming after the child? Because all I’m seeing is Bughuul being creepy to adults who are trying to steal his many vacation homes. Which makes no sense because Bughuul is supposed to corrupt children’s minds.
If it seems like a lot of loose ends are thrown in here and just left to flail around in the wind, it’s because that’s exactly what happens. Vincent D’onofrio was having none of this film, so the professor who gave advice in the first movie has been replaced by a guy who tells us that his predecessor mysteriously disappeared. That’s all. Just disappeared. Nobody knows where he went. There is no death. There is no evidence. He could have killed himself or run off with a stripper or decided to pursue his lifelong dream of being a professional dog-walker. But he left something before he disappeared. And the thing he left might hold the key to everything! Come see, Ex-Deputy! He left a recording of creepy Norwegian children playing a creepy Norwegian piano.
The men look at each other, shocked. A sudden moment of movie clarity, and someone says, “It’s the kids!”
…..no shit, Sherlock. Didn’t we already establish this fact in the first movie? How is this news? We’re talking about the Boogeyman who goes after children. And in the first movie, we already saw Ethan Hawke’s kid go on a killing spree. Why is anyone surprised? Are we in the audience supposed to be surprised? What made anyone think this was a good idea? The one useful thing introduced is that Bughuul always has the children record the killings somehow in some art form. Which is really vague. Maybe somewhere out there kids are making macaroni art of their dead families. But apparently the videos are really important. And that’s why kids are running around with some really old school technology while they murder their families in horrible and unusual ways.
I thought there might be something interesting happening when Bughuul started showing up in Ex-Deputy’s laptop, like maybe he was switching media or something, but nope. Nobody addressed that. It just happened. And then it was gone.
Oh, by the way, the ghost kids help the live kids kill people now for some reason.
They’re toying around with the idea of Sinister 3. Why? Because.