"Sinister" Movie Review — 4.5 out of 5 stars
Wed, 10 Oct 2012 08:43:02
Sinister is the rare modern horror flick that's both innovative and timelessly terrifying.
The pervasive element of "found footage" gets a unique spin here. Rather than string together one realistic rattling image after another as so many fright films do these days, Sinister employs the tactic in fresh fashion.
Ethan Hawke, as phenomenal as ever, plays a true crime writer named Ellison Oswalt. He moves his family into a new house with, shall we say, a bit of a history. In the attic, he finds a box of home movies depicting a series of gruesome murders in different states and during separate eras. Each one bears a connection to a Pagan deity Bagul, with his rather unsettling visage or mark popping up. Then, all hell starts to break loose at home as Oswalt's world unravels while he delves further into solving this mystery and gaining fodder for his new literary tome.
The footage itself is utterly jarring—especially the lawnmower vignette. With the washed-out filter and dark, musty hues, the images burn into the psyche and definitely don't leave after viewing. There's some nightmare-worthy material here that functions effectively.
However, where Sinister really works is the story itself and Hawke's performance. His descent into darkness based on his hubris of chasing down this story for his book proves just as creepy as the demonic imagery. Hawke's obsession becomes palpable as he watches interviews from the character's glory days as a writer alone in the middle of the night. He's not going to let go, and that stubborn inertia conjures the perfect vibe.
In many ways, it's even more terrifying than Insidious—2011's stand out. Ultimately, it's a haunting, hypnotic, and horror classic driven by a fantastic turn from Hawke and deft direction from Scott Derrickson. Welcome to the scariest film of the year.
Will you be seeing Sinister on October 12, 2012?
See our exclusive interview with Ethan Hawke about the film here!