An Aesthetic Appreciation Of Violence… Just Not The Plot
There’s nothing quite so disappointing about reviewing things in the media when everything is brilliant. I admit, my threshold for bad is quite a few metres above most – but then, I love the ‘good-bad’ genre (and it basically is a genre) and I enjoy when something is well intentioned, even if it is a little weak.
But then sometimes things are just bad. The worst thing in the world, for me, is when something is trying to be something it’s not. The Asylum come to mind. You know, the production company that has brought us such works as Nazis at the Centre of the Earth (2012), Sharknado (2013) and the upcoming Academy-Award nominee T-Rex vs Zombies (2017).
Individually, these all sound amazing – but the rotten core of the apple is that they’re trying to be bad. It’s so obvious that it really drains the life out of it – at least, that’s the impression I get.
Sinister 2 (2015) also falls into this category. Not that it’s trying to be funny, but that it’s trying to be something it’s not. It isn’t scary, that’s for sure, but it isn’t really fun to watch either.
But let’s not jump too far ahead of ourselves. First we need to-
Tell You What Happens
As with Sinister (2012), the film opens on a grim piece of imagery – a family are strung up like scarecrows and burnt alive as a child watches. It is revealed to be the nightmare of stock creepy child #181 Dylan Collins (Robert Daniel Sloan), who lives with his twin brother Zach (Dartanian Sloan) and mother Courtney.
The scene serves to set up that the rural farmhouse they occupy is already inhabited and that no one should trust children or live in creepy rural farmhouses – especially if there happens to be a deconsecrated church on the property.
Soon after, we are introduced to the creatively named Deputy So & So (James Ransone) who is still suffering from the psychological damage inflicted in the first film. He begins his story in a confessional booth before hitting the streets to burn down the homes of the victims of the evil demon from the first film – the Marilyn Manson-cosplaying boogeyman himself, Bughuul.
In his efforts to stop the demon from claiming any more lives, he eventually crosses paths with Courtney and her sons. Dylan, incidentally, has been repeatedly visited in the night by ghostly children, who lead him away to watch “home movies” – snuff films recorded by the murderous little bastards before they were claimed by Baghuul.
What follows feels like it should be a heart pounding race for the deputy to save the family from death, while evading the demon himself. But, sadly, it just wasn’t.
I must admit that the home movies are genuinely terrifying, gruesomely depicting the torture and death of the children’s families in some creative ways. The feel of genuine film, too, helps elevate these sections into something that actually feels worth watching.
Perhaps that is a little harsh. But then, the first time I watched this film I was in the cinema with a fair amount of people and despite the growing sense of dread and impressive world building, something always felt a little off. At first, there were little titters from a handful of people around the screen, then awkward chuckles, then full on belly laughs. The Deputy, it seemed, had fallen straight out of a Naked Gun movie.
No one knew whether to laugh or not, but the scene with the Deputy and the Professor was the final straw. It was suddenly a laugh out loud comedy, indeed the funniest film I had seen in the cinema in a long time.. except, with horrific depictions of murder and torture. Huh.
Sinister 2 felt like it didn’t know what it wanted to be. A loving tribute to Children Of The Corn (1984), maybe. A parody of the genre? Eh, somehow I doubt it. It felt like the film was trying too hard to be something it wasn’t and wasn’t quite incompetent enough to be a good ‘bad’ movie.
But wait, there’s more!
All that said, this scene is still pretty bloody funny. It helped that when I first saw it, the audience was just as confused as I was and when the realisation hit, well, I hope you can imagine.
Check it out here:
Yours, A P Tyler