It takes a lot for anyone to truly call a horror film genuinely scary. It can be creepy all that it wants and have pop-out moments that more or less get regarded as tacky cop-out moments. Some of us don’t care how tacky a horror film is, and just want those pop-out moments and a tub-full of gore. Others want a movie that will challenge the rest and actually give us something terrifying for once. “Sinister” was one of the few films in the past few years that has been regarded as actually scary, but is it really?
Ellison Oswalt (Ethan Hawke) is a true crime novelist that is on the cusp of a new story that could revitalize his career. So, he up and moved to a small home that was also the scene of a crime where a family was hung by their necks on the tree in the backyard. While moving in, he found a box of 8mm movie reels in the attic. He watched the videos, and found a more grisly truth, which was that this house was part of a serial killer’s routine, and somehow these tapes found their way back to the original house. Initially, he watched the films as research into his next book, but the more he watched them, the more strange things began to show up around his house. Can he escape from this alive? Watch to find out.
There are elements to this movie that just scream unoriginal. There is found footage that the main character “found”, there is a seemingly haunted house where inanimate objects seem to have a mind of their own, the main antagonist is a demon-like-thing that harasses Ellison and his family (more so Ellison) to no end. While it may seem unoriginal at times, there was also a part of this film that really feels fresh and new.
“Sinister” is purposefully slow. Taking things slow in the beginning is what makes some of the most frightening movies exactly that. They are aware of the formula that typical horror films take, and they use that formula to their advantage. We, as an audience, await certain things to scare us, and this movie knows how to actually make those certain things surprising, and not predictable. Sure, the first half of the film is incredibly slow and nothing really happens other than a man researching ideas for his books and finding appalling video reels. Things do get very interesting towards the middle, though.
The unpredictable nature of this film is very key. Being predictable means failing at producing genuine scares, other than pop-out moments at random intervals. This movie does everything right in the scare factor, and it also includes some gore and even more creepiness. This is a horror film that people will be talking about, if they haven’t been already. It is scary.
The main antagonist is incredibly spooky. He says no words, he just stands there with a white, demonic face, and observes. He just observes, and the very sight of him will make your skin crawl. After watching the movie, you might be looking around with a flashlight in the dark to make sure this…thing…isn’t with you. That is a powerful thing for horror films, and they should all strive to have that effect.
Now, a lot of people are going to give this film a hard time for being slow. So many people just can’t understand the meaning of taking things slow in the horror genre. All people want to see is blood and guts a lot of the time, but that isn’t scary! All that is, is just disgusting. You should want something that will stick in your mind, long after you go to bed. You want nightmares.
It’s definitely interesting, and it has the proper scares, but it is far from perfection. It is unpredictable, but it is also not perfectly unique either. As mentioned above, it has stereotypical horror-type things involved, things that are likely to turn people away. The acting was good, but not phenomenal, the editing and writing was actually very well done, and the movie has good dark vibe going on.
If this sounds like you, then make your way to the Blu-Ray and DVD shelf on Feb. 19, when “Sinister” is released.