Sinister 2 is less of a horror movie, and more of a terror movie. Maybe even more of a gross-out movie—it’s kind of a delicate hair to split.
“Horror” is the anxiety-producing power of imagination; “terror” is the adrenaline-producing power of depiction. Matt Zoller Seitz, in his essay regarding the TV show Stalker, puts it this way: "Where horror is driven by psychology and philosophy and sometimes theology, terror is driven by fear of violence, period."
The central scares of Sinister 2 come from having a Scary Man show up unexpectedly—or perhaps one of his youthful minions—accompanied by the sting of a Scare Chord (that loud, discordant sound that accompanies "jump-out" scares), and maybe an unexpected flash of light. This—and, crucially, only this—is what's "scary" about Sinister 2: that, only when you most expect it, something may happen on screen that'll make you twitch in your chair.
If you sense some disdain, you’re right: in my opinion, the achievement of movies like Sinister 2 isn't all that much greater than the playground bully who criticizes you for having flinched at his fist. At no point in its runtime does it really try to inspire horror in you—just the fear that behind that curtain lurks BAM!—Scary Man in a White Mask.
The movie picks up in the aftermath of the first Sinister, with Ethan Hawke's character and family uniformly obliterated by the malignant spirit of Baghuul, i.e. Mr. Boogeyman. Baghuul operates on the corruption of children; once a child is exposed to him through some medium, after long enough, that kid will kill her whole family, record the process somehow, and ...1
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