I just got back from watching Sinister a little while ago, and it was a cool and fun experience. The crowd seemed to have a blast with it, and even the at times annoying teens sitting in the front row added to the experience. Love it or hate it, Sinister is a horror flick that should be seen on the big screen, and not at home, in order for the full effect that it could have on you to be possible.
I had been aware of Sinister due to it’s extensive marketing campaign, but avoided reading too much about it – even the plot synopsis. But since it’s theatrical release on Friday, there seems to have been a massive storm of feedback and generally positive opinions expressed about it – most of which I would see or hear about accidentally without even trying to. I figured this must be a rock solid horror flick ’cause I haven’t heard this sort of positive buzz about a horror flick in some time. Going into it, my expectations were definitely elevated a bit because of it.
Sinister, in a nutshell, is a ghost story, haunted house tale, crime and mystery rolled into one, with an element of Super 8 Snuff footage thrown in. Ethan Hawke stars as Ellison Oswalt – a true crime writer who relocates his family to a new home – the same house where the murder of a family took place, and where a missing girl the town has never found also resided. In this home, Ethan’s character finds some home video – Super 8 films in the attic and watches the violent crimes filmed within them to try and help solve the mystery, and for him to write his first big best-selling book in ten years. Those films contain disturbing, graphic images which seem to start messing with our main character – and possibly unleashing a supernatural entity of some sort. These videos were very well done – keeping a snuff feel to them. They are disturbing and chilling to watch from the point of view of the killer. The music that plays during these sequences is outstanding and perfect for what our eyes are seeing.
Sinister keeps the tension going fairly consistently throughout, even after I figured out exactly what was going to happen at the end. There were several cheap “jump” scares in it that I’m sure many will accuse of being cliche, but I enjoyed them – and made it fun like always to see other people in the room squirm in their seats and scream their lungs out. I admit, even I was rattled a couple of times, and I’m the guy that has seen a million horror flicks – claiming that nothing scares him anymore. I do feel though that the main bad guy/demon/entity in this flick could have been much scarier. There is a lot more they could have done with him. He looks sort of like those lead singers in Norwegian Black Metal bands – which should maybe come as no surprise as there is a black metal reference within the film when characters discuss old satanic and demonic rituals.
Ethank Hawke did a great job carrying this film – a lesser actor could have ruined this one completely since it does have a few hiccups here and there. I was hoping it was going to be a similar outstanding experience as the first time I watched Insidious when it was released, but it fell just short of that. I still highly recommend Sinister to everyone enough that I suggest it is worth going out to see it now rather than wait for when it is released on VOD or DVD. I know I plan on watching it again sometime in the future. When quality films like this are made in this genre I always hope it does well. Go see it!