'Sinister 2' - Is This the Start of a New Horror Franchise?Christopher Campbell |
'Sinister 2' looks like an almost certain possibility even though ‘Sinister’ finished the weekend in third place. The horror film still made money ($18 million) given its low budget ($3 million). While not a sensation on the level of ‘Paranormal Activity,' the profit margin makes ‘Sinister 2’ look likely from a business perspective. But could it work from a storytelling perspective? [Spoilers ahead...]
In terms of the plot, which deals with a series of supernatural-based family murders, the show could very well go on. In the first movie, true-crime author Ellison Oswalt (Ethan Hawke) makes the mistake of immediately moving into a house where almost an entire clan was just killed by hanging. Then he makes the additional error of moving out, an action that triggers his own family’s demise based on the rules of the villain, an ancient child-eating Pagan deity turned Super 8 fanatic named Baghuul.
In theory, so long as “Deputy So-and-So” (James Ransone) doesn’t campaign to have the Oswalts’ final residence completely destroyed, Baghuul’s cycle could continue with another family moving into the house -- which we last see decorated with blood-painted murals courtesy of possessed daughter Ashley (Clare Foley), an apparent art prodigy turned axe-wielding decapitator. And that new family would eventually be chased out and then similarly killed by one of their own kids in the next place they attempt to settle.
This sounds like it would be very repetitive, but then a lot of horror sequels are, especially the haunted house type. And one thing that’s interesting about ‘Sinister’ is how it changes up the homes being terrorized -- though the ‘Poltergeist’ series, which comes to mind (along with many other films of the genre) during the Oswalts’ late-night decision to flee as fast as they can, already gave us variation as well. Just think of ‘Poltergeist 3’ to consider the idea of the Oswalts or another of the families moving on to an enormous residential skyscraper.
What might be interesting, still, is an idea that plays with the sort of residence involved. As ridiculous as it would be, imagine if the family being haunted were able to stick with their stay at the former Oswalt residence until its patriarch (or matriarch) was elected President. Then it ends with the First Kid and Baghuul going to town in the White House. So ‘Sinister 3’ would then involve a POTUS who resigns just to escape the terror, and he and the First Family are killed soon after.
If the political track isn’t the right way to go, another “clever” angle on the house-to-house element would be to have a family flee Baghuul’s hauntings only to wind up in another already-haunted house. What would happen if ‘Sinister’ had a crossover with, say, ‘The Amityville Horror,’ and Baghuul had to compete with the evil already residing in that notorious Long Island home? Could they cancel each other out? Would they still destroy the central family in the process of clashing?
Yes, these proposed directions are obnoxiously silly, but this is because there really isn’t much room for a seriously interesting and equally scary sequel to ‘Sinister.’ And when that sort of seemed dead end happens, horror franchises go in a comedic route.
Even with the rehash of the plot with a new family, a lot of that plot would entail straight recycling of the Super 8 home movies that Hawke’s character watches in the first film. Maybe we’d get a longer look at the new film of him, his wife (Juliet Rylance) and their son (Michael Hall D’Addario) having their heads chopped off. Otherwise too much of the sequel would have to involve a replay of “Pool Party,” “Sleepy Time,” “Lawn Work” and the rest. These little period-perfect bits of “found footage” were already the highlight of ‘Sinister’ and won’t have the same effect if employed over again.
As it stands, ‘Sinister’ is plenty creepy with our imagined realization of Baghuul and his appetite for little kids persisting as long as the real estate market and economy are such that crime scenes are quickly opened up to new homeowners. And imagination is always an important aspect of good horror films. So, let’s hope the decent box office take isn’t high enough that a sequel is called for obligatorily. One thing the imagination can’t help is in finding a solution to how ‘Sinister 2’ could work at all.