Review: Sinister


Director:Scott Derrickson

Cast:Ethan Hawke, Juliet Rylance, James Ransone

Running Time:110 Minutes


Horror just isn't what it used to be. Most flicks coast on
whatever is hot right now, whether it be torture porn, "˜80s remakes, or found
footage.  They sacrifice creativity
in favor of easy, cheap scares designed to shock rather than scare.  Sinister
valiantly bucks this trend with a unique spin on a suffering genre that will
make your skin crawl and your spine tingle. It proves you don't need
ultra-violence or jump-scare gimmicks to effectively creep out the crowd, just
a neat idea and genuine passion to entertain.

Ellison Oswald (Ethan Hawke) hasn't written a hit in years
and is in desperate need of a killer book concept.  He moves his family to a small town where the mysterious
disappearance of a little girl has the local police dreading Ellison's eventual
appearance.  The girl's family was
found hanging from a tree in the backyard of their house.  Guess where Ellison decides to move
in?  While investigating for this
latest book, he stumbles across a mysterious box of Super 8 home videos showing
gruesome deaths of other families including the latest one.  These videos lead Ellison on a terrifying
journey that drives him to the darkest corners of madness and obsession.

Director Scott Derrickson makes the most out of his limited
budget, utilizing the few locations he has to maximize the scares.  His shot composition enhances the dread
and terror around each corner of Ellison's house by forcing the audience to
stick with the characters in frame as long as possible.  The first half of the film is a slow
burn setting up the family dynamics and the mystery behind the family
killings.  The pace at the
beginning really helps punctuate the force of nature Ellison encounters.  The fun script also helps with smart
moments of hilarious character interaction to break up the more terrifying

Ethan Hawke, as usual, is stellar, portraying a pretty
selfish guy with an underlying charm that makes you care about what he's going
through rather than simply waiting for him to die.  Sinister does get
scary, but really it's more of a throwback "˜80s-style creep fest with effective
visuals and excellent direction. It's amazing what a little bit of care and a
solid concept will do.  Sinister is one of the best films of the
year and certainly one of the best horror films in recent memory. Don't miss


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