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Film Review: Sinister (2012)

Updated on February 17, 2017

Would you move into a house that was the scene of a whole family's murder and a little girl's disappearance only nine months before?

That's what true-crime author, Ellison Oswalt, does. Determined to find the answers to this mystery, and write another bestseller on the grisly deaths, he and his oblivious family move into the house. But when Ellison discovers a box of Super 8 home videos in the attic that hold footage of the gory deaths of families in their own homes, including the family that lived in the house previously, things start to get a little...sinister...

Now I'm not going to spoil it for people who have yet to see it, but I will tell you one thing. I have watched a lot of horror movies in my time, and I haven't batted an eyelid as I eat my snacks and watch the characters go through hell. But this! My friend (who also loves horrors) and I were curled up into tight little balls in our chairs in the cinema. It was a horror movie that was actually scary!

Maybe I found it scarier than other horror films because it was the first one I'd seen at the cinema, I dunno. But the plot, the delivery of the story, the was all so amazing. It wasn't predictable; I was constantly guessing. I jumped, I gasped, and I hugged my knees 'til they ached. I loved it! Can't say my friend enjoyed it - she was peeking through her fingers for most of the film. The point is, Scott Derrickson and C. Robert Cargill wrote something fresh, and took the story down some really interesting twists and turns.

And the music used! Oh my God, that freaked me out all on its own!

Of course, the film isn't flawless. It isn't as amazing as 'Insidious' and it undermines itself in areas. For example, the idea for Ellison to move his wife and two children into a house where such a recent crime took place can perhaps be considered a lazy path drawn by the writers to introduce the Super 8 films. Would a father really move his family into a crime scene for his benefit? It's more likely for the answer to be no. But Ethan Hawkes' portrayal of Ellison made sure I didn't bat an eyelid at first concerning this. Ellison appears to be a fairly egoistic man who knows what to say to make people - himself included - believe that he is doing something selfless and morally good, so although it is shocking that he would do such a thing, it is somewhat believable that he did do it. He says he's after justice, yet really he's just desperate to be famous again.

Another thing is the usual, "Will you PLEASE turn on the lights!" Why do the characters in horror movies forget that there are lights that can be switched on when mysterious noises are coming from inside the house? It's infuriating! Another thing is that the movie only scrapes the skin in showing how staying in the house is affecting the children, a factor that seems to be very important for the end of this movie.

Overall though, if you like horror films, are sick of the usual gore and are looking for something that has you either on the edge of your seat or curled up tightly in it, watch Sinister. Though it is far from perfect, it is a film you can really get into.


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