As a huge horror movie fan (like, my entire Netflix que is horror), I go into new horror movies waiting to be disappointed. Call me a pessimist, but there always seems to be a moment when a really good movie turns into just another “brunette gets chopped and the blonde saves the day” plot. But not Sinister, oh no. Sinister left me quivering in my new heels, afraid to look out my window that night. And that’s something not just any horror movie can do.
The movie doesn’t even start out innocently, as a true-crime novelist moves his family into the house where a brutal murder took place. Bad choice number one. The novelist, Ellison Oswalt (Ethan Hawke), has been chasing to regain his fifteen minutes of fame after his last hit ten years ago and appears to have hit the motherload of inside scoops when he finds a box of super 8 home movies in the attic. Of course as an investigator he cracks them open and begins his work, though it doesn’t take long for him to figure out that these are no ordinary home movies. Each is labeled with a seemingly innocent name, “hanging out”, “pool party”, “family BBQ”, etc. that actually contains the way a family has been executed.
Let me extremely clear, these tapes are in no way kid friendly. These are essentially snuff films, in all their violent glory. If you don’t have a strong stomach, I would highly suggest waiting to watch it until Sinister comes out on DVD.
Anyway, soon after Ellision watches the home movies creepy things start happening. Like undead children following you around the house creepy things, and Ellison has put his family right in the middle of their path.
Sinister was a great movie, it was creepy, well done, and the soundtrack composed by Christopher Young (The Grudge, Hellraiser) is seriously the best element this movie has. Demonstrated in the scenes when Elliot is watching the super 8 films. For those who don’t know, super 8 cameras only capture video. So the whole time Elliot is watching the home movies, there’s a huge space of potentially the scariest Soundtrack you’ve ever heard and good grief does Young take advantage of that opportunity. The effect makes the movie ten times creepier than if it had been any other composer.
The cinematography was excellently done as well. The super 8 films brings a great contrast to the modern plot and give a nice twist to a seemingly innocent object. As for the scenes from the home movies, though disturbing beyond belief were instrumental in both the comprehension of what is going on and the gravity of the situation Ellison has brought upon himself. And in the modern filming, the cinema talent was mostly on display as Ellison wandered through his haunted home finally collapsing on the couch. As he falls asleep, we watch as the darkness dissipates from the rising sun. It’s such a great moment for the filming, it’s one of my favorite parts.
Sinister is rated R for disturbing violent images and some terror. Incredibly accurate rating, I would say. Again if you don’t have a strong stomach, I wouldn’t go see this movie until you’re good and ready. Or have a pause button.
I would however, recommend this movie to fans of the horror genre. I thoroughly enjoyed Sinister and will most likely be seeing it again.
For a creepiness most horror films lack, I give Sinister 4 1/2 out of 5 super 8 reels.