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The Children advance in director Ciaran Foy's horror movie Sinister 2.

Elizabeth Morris/Gramercy Pictures

1 out of 4 stars

Title
Sinister 2
Written by
C. Robert Cargill and Scott Derickson
Directed by
Ciaran Foy
Starring
James Ransone and Shannyn Sossamon
Genre
Horror
Country
USA
Language
English

Scott Derickson's 2012 spooker Sinister was a good-enough horror movie, animated by a strong performance by Ethan Hawke (as a true-crime writer drawn into the mystery of his own haunted house), and its implication of potential for the evil inherent in images themselves.

Sinister 2 follows up, like plenty of sequels, by doing more. There are more haunted-film reels for characters to gawk at, more sullen ghost-children brooding in the shadows, more obvious subtext connecting haunted houses to the busted-up families taking up residence inside them.

James Ransone returns, making the move from aw-shucks comic relief to reluctant hero, attempting to end the curse of the demonic child-snatcher Bughuul by systemically burning down the houses he disturbs. When he finds an on-the-lam mom (Shannyn Sossamon) and her sons (Robert Daniel Sloan and Dartanian Sloan) hunkering down in a haunted farmhouse, he has precious time to dispel Bughuul's curse before he corrupts one of the kids and continues the cycle of violence.

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For all its shocks and wannabe-disturbing imagery (trapped Bible-thumpers being mauled by rats etc.), nothing in Sinister 2 comes across as believably scary. Some curses, it seems, are best left unbroken.

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