At the end of the first movie in this series, we were left with the knowledge of what the pattern to the killings was and also the sheriff’s deputy had all the information about it. I absolutely love that this movie uses everything from the previous film and, instead of just making this into “the same shit from the first movie happens but now we have different actors”; we follow the established story with a new perspective on the events.
The sequel starts off with our deputy from the first movie several years later having been kicked off the force and dedicating his life to stopping the ability of Bughuul to feed on children. Since he knows that the pattern is that families that lived where the previous victims died and then move away from that place will be then next ones to be sacrificed; he does the logical thing and burns down the house of Ellison from the first movie so nobody could move in there and continue the chain. Unfortunately, that chain wasn’t the only one and now a woman and her two boys are living in a house where another family was killed. He has to try to figure out how to stop them from leaving and figure out a way to keep the boogeyman from claiming more victims.
The first movie spent all of its time following Ethan Hawke around even though Bughuul is ostensibly all about the corruption and taking of children. This film we spend much more time seeing the process through which that corruption happens from the point of view of one of the children that is being corrupted. The dynamic between the brothers Dylan and Zach makes for a great secondary story to that of the deputy trying to help solve things. The souls of the previously taken children are trying to get Dylan to watch all their murder movies and Zach gets jealous because the ghosts didn’t pick him to be their friend. The idea of being upset that your brother gets to be corrupted by an ancient malevolent spirit and you don’t is such a great way of framing the sibling rivalry between the two.
Unfortunately, while we get more information and expand the whole lore of the Sinister universe; the movie ends up seeming to break down once it gets toward the climax. Now, all of a sudden, the creepy ghost kids can actually interact with the scenery and start poltergeisting things around. Spoilers for the end of the movie but we also see that Zach, the brother that gets corrupted when Dylan resists, still ends up getting taken by Bughuul even though he didn’t manage to finish the sacrifice or create the movie; which we find out creating art of the ritual is all part of it as well. They had done such a good job of following their own rules and making people have logical responses to things that when the end has Bughuul jump scaring the deputy for no reason, it feels out of place.
This movie is definitely less tense than the first one. The movies that the ghost kids show seem both much more brutal than the ones in the first movie and yet, that also somehow makes them less effective. Seeing four people slowly hanged is much more viscerally disturbing than watching four people tied upside down above a river so an alligator can chomp at them. It’s just much more over the top and so loses that grounded creepiness. That said, this one is more fun to watch than the first one but it really feels like you have to watch the first one to get as much out of this one.
Score: 3.5 out of 5