Horror movies are always a good time, whether they’re good or bad. If they’re good, they’re good and if they’re bad, they’re funny. I often catch the occasional horror film because I’m a big fan of the genre. Sinister was a horror film I couldn’t ignore. It had been getting a lot of attention and good reception and it actually looked pretty interesting. I don’t want to say that Sinister was a pleasant surprise because Sinister was anything but pleasant, but it was a good movie and quite the amazing horror movie.
Sinister was no perfect horror film and I don’t think it was trying to be one. It had its flaws, like some corny dialogue that felt out of place during some very dark sequences and the obvious flaw you find in a lot horror films of the choices the characters make. I wasn’t much bothered by slight problems such as these because the film made up for its few problems with a horrific story of macabre and the otherworldly.
The story follows true crime author, Ellison Oswalt (a part Ethan Hawke really juices for all its worth and in all the best ways). Unbeknownst to his family, Oswalt has just moved them into the prior home of the murder victims he’s writing his next book about. After all, he was able to get it for a “steal”. Little does he know that this decision has just plagued his family with something much more terrifying than he could’ve possibly imagined. As if the hanging of four family members wasn’t horrific enough, he slowly begins to realize that there may be a much more sinister conspiracy surrounding these murders.
The film plays well with audience expectations and the idea of things that go bump in the night. The film attempts to make you feel as frightened, uncomfortable and alone as it’s troubled protagonist and most of the time it actually succeeds. Unlike many other horror films there’s a lot to the story and rarely is the film not progressing and offering both entertainment and scares. Also, while the film does offer some jump scares, it doesn’t rely to heavily on them because the film seems much more concerned with its simple and genuinely frightening story. That’s something I can respect a lot in a modern horror film.
Sinister is a twisted and unrelenting film and for good reason, director Scott Derrickson (The Exorcism of Emily Rose) is attempting get under your skin and scare you. There’s not much more frightening than the dead, demons, disturbing murders and a disdain towards human life. Sinister is film that gets it right. It was a well made film and it did what it set out to do in the way it offered the kind of horror story you tell around a campfire to scare your friends and the kind of twisted tale that can stick with you long after.