Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Sinister (2012) Movie Review

So Sinister That You Can't Look Away

Sinister (Directed by Scott Derrickson Doctor Strange, The Exorcism of Emily Rose and written by Scott Derrickson and C. Robert Cargill) is about a true crime author, Ellison (Ethan Hawke), who willingly moves into a home with his family where a grizzly murder (unbeknownst to his family) took place. While putting together research for a new book about the murders that took place in his new home, Ellison discovers a box in the attic that contains a film projector accompanied by 8 mm home films. These home films are a chain reaction of horror and haunts. And a pagan deity from the Babylonian times (Bughuul) makes his subtle presence known.

Sinister is a movie--a rare movie, which has no flaws. Nothing about it ever gets boring, cringy, or stale. Sinister is fresh, new, seriously scary, and puts a whole new vision of found footage into the mix. The little slices we see is a found footage that has never been executed so well or done before.

The opening scene alone is unsettling. We dive head first into something so strange, evil, and interesting. A family with burlap sacks over their heads await a vicious hanging as the branch that is basically the stepping stool gets sawed off, releasing them into death. This scene (along with the other home films) feels like something you shouldn't be watching.

After discovering the contents in the attic, Ellison allows himself to go through such stressful and horrible situations like viewing these snuff films and being haunted by entities just to have one more hit, his prior (Kentucky Blood) being ten years ago. You really feel for him and want him to win but it is like watching somebody drown and there are no life preservers around.

Even his children become victims of the entities as Trevor begins sleep walking and having night terrors, and Ashley is haunted by the little girl who lived in the home. But Ellison still rides out the storm just to get that second fifteen minutes of fame; constantly ignoring the protests of his wife Tracy (Juliet Rylance).

What I really like about the movie is its obscurity. Very little is known about Bughuul--only his backstory, but we still don't know who actually did the ritual to bring him around or what he is actually useful for. Bughuul never talks or shows up much, and he still has an extremely scary presence. And the ghost children are also creepy. The scene where they are haunting Ellison made me think: So when I hear bumps and cracks and floorboards squeak is that... And then I freak myself out.

Not only is the story and the imagery unsettling but the music being played during these home films are strange. Right after I watched the movie I Googled every song. Listen to Ulver's Teachings In Silence album. All I have to say. Creepiness.

The kills in the home films are chilling. You have not seen these type of kills in any other horror movie.

What is also very cool about Sinister is that the whole movie basically takes place in a home, as did the other Blumhouse produced Paranormal Activity. Budget is rarely the focus on filming especially when you have a good horror story to tell. And the scariest and most effective moments is when Ellison is alone in the dark watching these disturbing home films.

Of course, like a lot of criticism I see about movies, a lot of it pisses me off. IGN, for example, called the "scream-out-loud-moments" lazy. Um, apparently they don't recall the lawnmower scene. That is probably one of the best, if not the best, jump scares ever. The scares are not cheap or forced. You can really feel the horror and suspense, and Ethan Hawke projects it so well with his character. Ellison is scared as hell. And of course, Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 63% so I always question people's criticism.

Sinister is one of my favorite movies ever. I don't know if it is because of the fact that I'm a writer and I like when characters are writers or because it is just so creepy, or both--I think both. But if you haven't watched it, I strongly suggest it. And remember, although intriguing, if you ever find a box full of home films in an attic don't watch them!

Keep It Creepy!

Halloween Eddie

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