(US/UK - 2015)
Directed by Ciarin Foy. Written by Scott Derrickson and C. Robert Cargill. Cast: James Ransone, Shannyn Sossamon, Robert Sloan, Dartanian Sloan, Lea Coco, Nick King, Tate Ellington, John Beasley, Lucas Jade Zumann, Jaden Klein, Laila Haley. (R, 97 mins)
Scott Derrickson's SINISTER (2012) was a dark, grim shocker with at least one instant-classic sequence and ranks as one of the better horror films to come off the Blumhouse assembly line. Derrickson co-wrote the first film with C. Robert Cargill, and both return to script the sequel, though Derrickson has delegated directing duties to Irish filmmaker Ciarin Foy. Foy wrote and directed the intermittently interesting 2012 high-rise horror indie CITADEL, a film with some effectively eerie sequences that just never quite gelled as a whole despite several terrifying moments. The intent of the script and the intent of the director often appear to be working at cross purposes throughout SINISTER 2: Derrickson and Cargill obviously want a modern horror movie filled with piercing jump scares and seem determined to turn boogeyman Bughuul (Nick King) into the next great horror icon, while Foy finds horror in the grounded reality of psychological trauma, much like his widower lead character in CITADEL, a timid man forced to protect himself and his infant child from a marauding gang of feral children prowling the building and seemingly singling him out to terrorize. Foy has said that CITADEL's story was born from a horrific mugging he endured where he violently beaten and stuck with a syringe, and while CITADEL had some undeniably frightening moments, Foy never quite pulled it all together, almost like his script needed one more draft before he got it right. There's a similar feeling throughout SINISTER 2: there's scary elements here, but they're the elements that don't involve the Bughuul silliness and the ghost children.