Sunday, October 14, 2012


Ellison Oswalt (Ethan Hawke) and his family move to a nice, cheap house so that Ellison can research the death of a family and its missing daughter for his new true crime book. What Ellison hasn’t told his family is that they are very close to the research – they are living in the same house that the family was living and murdered. While carrying moving boxes into the attic, Ellison discovers a box with a projector and five super 8 film reels. Each of them is a filmed mass murder, including the one that took place inside of his home. While he watches, a whole bunch of haunted-housey stuff starts to happen.

Here is what my wife said to me as we left the movie theater Friday night.

“Trevor, while I was sitting there, I realized that we’re too old for this. It is not fun at all to be that scared. My shoulders are all tense from having them scrunched up, and now we’re going to have to stay up for a couple hours and watch CNN so that I don’t fall asleep thinking of that. I’m not going to see these movies anymore.”

Please, don’t worry about what Horrorthon is doing to my relationship, as she was smiling the whole time. And I took her some place much nicer on Saturday. But, what she said encapsulates the whole reason I love horror movies! Nothing in the real world can make me feel the way that she described. Nothing real is even remotely that scary. She’s sat through lots of gory horror films and lots of “jump out and scare you” type of horror films, but Sinister is a rarity – the kind that is legitimately scary.

This review is getting long so I’ll just focus on two of the best parts of this film, but I’d love to see someone else review this.
1. Meta found footage. I’ve lost track of how many found footage horror films are out there, but I think we’re all aware of what a significant sub-genre it is, with Paranormal Activity being the gold standard. Well, this horror film is not found footage, but a significant portion of it is watching the 5 found footage films, and dealing with our protagonist’s reaction. It’s like watching a movie where someone watches Paranormal Activity, and then crazy crap starts happening in his house. V/H/S sort of tries to do this, but fails to deliver anything scary. Sinister does it very well. I think this picture forwards my argument...
2. The music. Honestly, this movie is worth it just for the music. At least 15-20 minutes of this movie is made up of scenes where Ethan Hawke wanders around his house. And there aren’t any big “jump out and scream” moments that most movies would use. It shouldn’t be scary at all. But, the screechy electronic dissonance that is described as the score ratchets up the tension to make many of the scenes very unsettling.
If you liked Insidious, you’ll love Sinister. When Paranormal Activity 4 is sold out this weekend, go see Sinister instead.


Johnny Sweatpants said...

I haven't read your review yet because I'm going to see it on Tuesday and I want to know as little about it as possible but I'm relieved to see your **** rating.

AC said...

nice find, trevor!

Catfreeek said...

Nice! I'm not reading your review yet either but your rating is very encouraging.

Octopunk said...

Well I read your review and it was great. Loved the part where your lady chimes in. Scary enough to warrant CNN instead of sleep? That's an endorsement!

I've been hoping this movie might be good, but my first theater priority for H-thon is Frankenweenie.

DCD said...

I don't want to read your review either - hoping to see this in the theater!

JPX said...

I have been looking forward to this film and I'm pleased that your review is so positive!

Abduscias said...

Glad that its a 4-star! :)