Sinister takes an approach more akin to horror movies with the “don’t do that!” premise. Some titles will make you cower in fear, which other have you shaking your head in disdain. Which one of these categories does Sinister fall into?
Washed-up writer, Ellison Oswalt (Ethan Hawke) decided to uproot his family and move to a new home. The decision isn’t about money troubles, marriage troubles, or to give his family a new life, but rather about the house itself. Several months prior a grisly murder took place on the premises – with all of the family members found hung – with the exception of their daughter who is still missing to this day. Ellison finds a box of Super 8 footage reels in the attic, which not only depict the grisly murder, but others as well, but there is something more to them. He soon realises each film shows a man wearing a mask (which looks a lot like Mick Thomason’s from the metal band, Slipknot) and is hidden in each movie. Strange events start to occur and Ellison finds himself a little deeper in this story than he’d like to be.
Ethan Hawke gives a decent performance as a desperate man to get back on top, while the supporting characters lead to his performance. At times you wonder if what’s happening to him is real, or if it’s all in his head.
The movie employs a few horror clichés, which leaves you a little underwhelmed. I like the usage of a boogie man character within the story, but it’s sometimes cheapened by lazy scare tactics. Don’t get me wrong, the movies is a great horror in its own right, but veteran horror lovers won’t find anything new here.
Rent Sinister for a cheap scare – or to scare a squeamish date (male or female) – but I wouldn’t encourage a purchase. There are talks of a sequel and I can only hope the psychological horror is amped up this time.