As we are approaching the end of October and Halloween, tis the season to be watching horror movies. If you are in the mood to partake in the viewing of these fright flicks, might I suggest a particularly terrifying new film called Sinister.
Ethan Hawke stars as Ellison Oswalt, a true crime writer who has been having trouble getting his next book started due to lack of inspiration. He decides it would be a good idea (when is this ever a good idea?) to move into a house in which the previous family that lived there was murdered so that he can hopefully get information for his next novel. Of course he neglects to tell his wife and two kids that their new home was the scene of a grisly crime. One evening, while storing something in the attic, he finds a box of old Super 8 film reels that contain footage of the murders that occurred in the backyard of his home. He also discovers footage of several other murders that date back decades and he becomes somewhat obsessed with finding out everything he can about them. Soon thereafter strange things start to happen to Ellison that can't be explained rationally.
Obviously I don't want to get overly descriptive about what types of things occur since that would ruin the thrill of discovery. Suffice it to say that something supernatural gets unleashed and there are plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing how this mystery will play out. Along the way the film is filled with copious amounts of tension and suspense, mostly due to a very ominous and foreboding score, but also because of some great eerie atmosphere and creepy imagery.
Sinister is directed by Scott Derrickson, who made the frightening film a few years ago called The Exorcism of Emily Rose. I quite enjoyed that film because it took its time to build the suspense and with Sinister he does the same thing. There's a bit of a slow burn with the suspense of finding out what the heck is going on which I appreciated. Sure there are plenty of those make you jump in your seat moments which are paramount in horror films, but they are utilized to great effect here and not overdone just for cheap thrills. There were definitely a few instances that freaked me out for sure.
In between all of the scary stuff however is a fairly solid drama centred around Ethan Hawke's portrayal as the writer. He does a fine job making Ellison a not-always-likable guy who would potentially sacrifice the well being of those that mean the most to him in order to garner a little bit more fame and critical affirmation. There is a morality question at play here in whether it's acceptable to profit from the exploitation of another family's tragedy.
Even though it doesn't necessarily stick the landing perfectly, Sinister nevertheless provides some extremely terrifying moments that are sure to get your heart racing a little bit faster. If you are a fan of horror films and enjoy getting the pants scared off of you then I would suggest you check it out.
When you're in the dark theater though, make sure you check behind you just in case.
I give Sinister a 7.5 out of 10.