The brainchild of writer-director Scott Derrickson (2014's "Deliver Us from Evil") and C. Robert Cargill, 2012's sensationally wicked "Sinister" was a notch or two above most studio-produced genre fare. In terms of its attentive character work, its asphyxiatingly ghastly atmosphere, and its positively chilling use of super-8 home-movie-style snuff films to portray the murderous legacy orchestrated by a child-possessing Pagan deity named Bughuul (Nick King), the picture held a radical, somehow dangerous spirit with the power to set viewers on edge for days. In telling of a true-crime author (Ethan Hawke) working on his latest book who unwisely moves his family into a Pennsylvania home where the former owners were systematically hanged, "Sinister" expertly built dread not through jump scares—although there were a few, strategically placed—but through the foreboding strength of its imagery and the sheer apprehension of what was to come next. If it took a wrong step during its high-wire act (as it did in the too-obvious final frame), these stumbles were few and far between in a film exhibiting both restraint and a shivery lack of compromise.
As a return engagement into the lore explored in the original, "Sinister 2" isn't without some singularly chilling moments, but it just as frequently goes awry. Taking over for Derrickson, director Ciar´n Foy (2012's "Citadel") aims to recapture the previous film's doom-laden feel, yet demonstrates no such sense of subtlety. Whereas Bughuul and his brood of brainwashed—and yes, corpsy—children were used sparingly and largely kept in the dark before, they now nonchalantly prance around from the start, less symbolic representations of evil and more like preening supporting characters. This storytelling choice proves damning, the gnarled, spectral mystique of its heavies and the blackened mystery surrounding them all but entirely vanishing.
See Dustin Putman, TheFilmFile.com. for full review