Thursday, August 15, 2013

Film Review: Sinister (2012)

Sinister (Review)
United States/2012
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"...one of the best contemporary horror films."

Ellison Oswalt (Ethan Hawke), a washed-up true crime writer, moves his unsuspecting family into the home of a vicious crime -- a family hung by a tree in their backyard and an abducted daughter. Ellison finds a box of disturbing Super 8 films in the attic that bring a nightmare into his home...

Sinister continues as Eillison further invrstigates the initial murders -- the murder that took place in his newfounded home -- as well as the other murders captured on the disturbing Super 8 films; all while trying to cooperate with his (annoying) wife and his children. (you'll get it if you watch the film, but apparently every mistake the children make are Ellison's fault as you always hear "your son did this" or "your daughter...") With each film, Ellison gets closer to the haunting truth as he recognizes similar symbols in each film and a demon-like figure looming in the background - a deity call Bughuul. The truth is revealed at the end with an unsettling twist; some will see it coming, some will be surprised, but it's unsettling, nonetheless.

Sinister uses many different horror elements, and it uses them effectively. The atmosphere is most noticeable since it's dense and immersive -- the darkness compliments the other horror elements effectively. The snuff films are disturbing and graphic, and the use of ominous music during is perfect. There is amazing tension during the house segments as Ellison lurks in the darkness, hearing noise here and there. The jump-scares are impressively effective and even unique, although they may be spoiled if the trailer is still fresh in your head. This is an chilling film that focuses on horror without sacrificing character or story.

Ethan Hawke is a superb actor and he delivers a great performance in Sinister; Hawke delivers a wide-range of emotion, and is a believable husband/father. Juliet Rylance plays Ellison's wife, and, despite being an annoying character, she delivers a great performance, as well; she can be happy one second, then furious the next. The film is occassionally too dark for its own good, but it's viewable, it's just hard to comment on cinematography or set-design. The writing and direction is great as it pulls a lot out of a simple story -- it stays consistent and is incredibly balanced and paced.

Overall, Sinister is a fantastic horror film; it blends the best of horror and packages it with great performances and technical aspects. In fact, I'd say it's one of the best contemporary horror films.

Score: 9/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and blood.

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