Last night I thought I was in for the fright of my life going to see the newly released horror film “Sinister.” Although I saw most of the film through slanted eyes and the cracks between my fingers because any titled horror film scares me blind, I still got the full effect or lack there of for this film that got rather great reviews. I for one, was not that thrilled about about the movie and I’ll tell you why. Beware this post contains some spoilers.
Summit’s “Sinister” follows crime novelist Ellison Oswalt (Ethan Hawke) as he moves his family yet again to research an unsolved crime as part of a new novel he is writing to set his family up for life. The film opens with film footage of a family of four being hung by a tree in a backyard. The scene sequence was very long, awkward and disturbing to watch. Maybe that was the effect the director was going on. After that we find Ellison and his family moving into a home that is later revealed to be that exact home the family was hung in. Ellison is met by the cops that sort of threaten him to leave town ASAP given that Ellison’s books have brought a negative cloud around every police precinct in the town in which he based his previous books on.
The movie took FOREVER to really get started and lacked any major heart pounding moments. Being that I study media and have taken a few courses in the structure of scenes and the general making of films I knew exactly when the “scary” parts would happen. The film wasn’t that much of a cliché but there were definitely moments where you could anticipate that something was going to happen. As the film moved on Ellison discovers a box of home movies in his attic thought to be of the previous owners. The home videos are recorded on Super 8 film and dates back to the 1960’s. Each film is labeled with peculiar titles such as “Hanging out with the family,” “Family BBQ” and “Sleepy time.” Later as Ellison watches he discovers they all depict gruesome murders of families that reflect the labeled titles; i.e “Family BBQ” shows a family being burned to death.
The plot thickens as Ellison notices a mysterious clown-like person and occult images that appears in all the films and that a child goes missing from each case. He gets help from a deputy who is a fan and wants to do anything to further Ellison’s book along. With the deputy’s help Ellison is lead to a local religious professor who has an idea about the images in the films. The professor tells Ellison that the images reflect a Pagan deity named Buhguul, who was known as an eater of children’s souls, killing the families of the child and then taking the child to his own netherworld.
Ellison then starts to see, hear and experience supernatural entities that cause him to pack up, leave the home and cease writing his latest novel on this unsolved case. BUT wait, there’s more. Upon moving into the new house, Ellison discovers the box of films he burned before leaving the old house unharmed in the attic. He throws the box over and notices an envelope marked ‘extended cut’ and things just get cray from there. Now, what fun would it be for me to ruin the ending but it was indeed a twist I didn’t see coming.
I know “Sinister” is supposed to be a horror movie but I just couldn’t get over how hot Ethan Hawke looked with that facial hair. The real frightening part about this entire movie is that he had a wife that wasn’t all over him the entire time. Enough of my gushing, lets talk Hawke’s performance.
The plot was slow, the effects were mah but Hawke did a great job acting the part of a borderline drunk writer struggling for his next big break. I believed his emotion and fear for his children and wife when he finally decided it was time for him to pack up and leave the haunting house.
Overall, I could have done without spending the ten bucks on the film. This is so one of those films you can catch on demand or when it hits cable in a couple of months, but that’s just my glamberous opinion. If you checked out the film this weekend what did you think?