Alliance Films presents Sinister.
Directed by Scott Derrickson. Written by C. Robert Cargill and Scott Derrickson.
Starring Ethan Hawke, Juliet Rylance, Clare Foley, Michael Hall D'Addario, James Ransone and Fred Thompson.
Lately, my biological clock has been ticking away. Maybe it’s the fact that I know too many young mothers. Maybe in my advancing age, the bitch cells are drying up and withering away. Maybe I’m bored. Maybe you feel the same way. Well fret not! Nothing will hit the snooze button like Scott Derrickson’s Sinister. Hell, I’m leaning more in the pro-sterilization category. Fuck these ovaries.
Ethan Hawke stars as Ellison Oswalt, a frustrated has-been of a writer who moves his family into a house at which four gruesome murders have recently taken place. He discovers a mysterious box in the attic containing several super-8 film rolls with innocuous, generic labels (“Pool Party ’66,” “Hanging with the Family ’11,” etc). Each film depicts a grisly murder scene perpetrated by some unknown party. As Ellison continues to watch the films, he notices a bizarre figure in each one. Eventually, he unleashes a great and horrible evil upon himself and his entire family.
I was really looking forward to this movie. I really was. After all, this is my first review of a movie that is neither a sequel nor a found footage film. I read several positive reviews and I heard from a few friends that the film was badass. Fuck you guys. I shelled out $14.50 to sit and watch Ethan Hawke attack the camera with his acting. And on that note, fuck Ethan Hawke’s character. I once again found myself cheering for the damn demon. Dear reader, should I ever in my hopeful writing career become a sniveling, whiny ass-rinse who ignores my family to death, please feed me to wolves.
After watching Ethan Hawke act at the camera for half the movie, I must praise the children. Those little bastards were creepy. I enjoyed how each child was incorporated into the film with the exception of the bat scene. If you watch the movie, you will agree that it’s a bit heavy-handed and cheesy. And I may be nitpicking here, but no real estate agent in their right mind would leave a giant broken tree branch lying around in the back yard. Particularly if said tree branch was used to kill people.
On the flipside, the premise behind the film was pretty interesting, as well as somewhat of a boon for the real estate business. The movie’s mythology was pretty unique (from my perspective, anyway). And the use of found footage for exposition was badass. Also, Bughuul, the Pagan deity who haunts our douchey protagonist, is genuinely freaky and the ending is every parent’s nightmare. There. I gave you the requisite positive aspects of the film so you think that I’m objectively reviewing it. I’m not.
Here’s the gist: Sinister presents an interesting story, a cast of actors who shouldn’t suck as hard as they do, and a series of cheap jump scares strategically thrown in to make up for the fact that the execution of said interesting story blows. Even at the ending, Derrickson couldn’t resist squeezing one last hurrah before you leave the cinema to go home and reevaluate your decision to have children. Seriously, go watch Wreck-It Ralph. It’s scarier.
And for the love of fuck, check your attic before you move into a cursed house. Super 8 film always leads to horrible shit.
Review by Katie Lucas, for Pitofhorror.com