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Embracing the Innocence of a Child: An Interview with Sinister 2’s Shannyn Sossamon

Bughuul returns but this time he faces Mama Bear.

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It’s not every day an actress gets to play the mother of twin sons who are going down two very different paths: one brutal/violent and the other in need of protection. For Shannyn Sossamon, this role became a reality when she signed on for the 2015 horror movie sequel, Sinister 2.

Sossamon takes on the role of Courtney Collins, a mother who is both trying to protect her sons from the supernatural and an even darker presence: their father. She finds strength in the role by tapping into her “mother bear” instincts, wanting to protect her sons at all cost.

“It depends on the material, if you go where the story requires you to go. So in this case, I had to link into Courtney Collins, her fight for her sons safety; linking into that Mama Bear survival mode, which carried me through the film.”

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Despite Sinister 2’s dark nature involving children, there was a balance that you often don’t find when working with adults. Having children on board helped to uplift the mood and heaviness of the film. There are these small moments in Sinister 2 where you forget that this is a horror movie and fall in love with the innocence of being a child. This was carried onset, switching from a concerning nature while onscreen, to the joy and innocence while off. Seeing children in their natural environment, helped to lift the weight of the film’s darker aspects.

“Children are lighter about [the filming process]. They’re good and these kids are really good. They’re playing pretend in the way that when they yell “cut” they just hangout, joke around. In adults we can overthink things.”

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While there’s a myth in Hollywood to never work with children, Sinister 2 puts them front and center as it offers a fresh prospective in the horror genre. Unlike other movies that require heavy usage of jump scares, the real horror is something more organic: psychology, jealousy and manipulation. While there is the unknowing presence in Bughuul, the real bump in the night is from the child actors and their ability to truly frighten adults.

“[Children] are supposed to be innocent. They are tiny and they are little and their bodies are little, and their faces still have innocence to them. So when they’re taken over by evil, when they’re possessed, it’s truly frightening. It almost does seem like its supernatural. There’s a force greater than the unknown. How can they just be evil? So it’s extra frightening.”

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Despite the supernatural aspect of the film, Sinister 2’s foundation is based in reality. There are children in real life who are abused, take an interest in violence, and face bullying/pressures from others on a daily bases. In turn, this can create very chaotic moments in one’s life. Using this as a jumping-off point to certain events and having the children deal with the trauma of an abusive father, helps to make this film different from what we’ve seen before.

“It brings a very strong grounded part of the story. Meaning it somehow ties together, beautifully, the core of horror and evil can truly began in the home through family dysfunction in the home atmosphere. How we raise our children, we can only do as well as to what was done to us; this cycle of evil happens in the home, [passed down] from our parents to their parents. We have habits that we picked up. If someone doesn’t take the necessary steps to break the cycle, that chain it will continue. The director married the truth of good and evil with the supernatural involving the evil Bughuul latching onto children beautifully.”

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One of the pressures of signing onto a sequel is trying to live up to the first movie. Releasing in 2012, Sinister was garnered positive reviews, grossing over $77 million dollars. However for Sossamon, she never felt the pressure of having to live up to the original.

“I never felt that pressure. It felt like a very healthy creative atmosphere. The director, Ciaran Foy, is really talented and very wonderful to work with. I felt very safe with him.”

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Children, innocence and the supernatural blend together in this tale of Bughuul, making it one of the more interesting additions to genre.

You can watch Sossamon bring out her inner Mama Bear in Sinister 2 which is now playing in theaters. Make sure to read my review while you’re at it.

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Dana Abercrombie Content Writer
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