November 19, 2012
I am usually disappointed when I see a film which came with very high expectations. However, I must make an exception to "Sinister." I had heard very good things about this film making it a must-see for a horror movie fan like me. However, I had to be out of the country during the days it was shown in the theaters locally last month, so I only got to watch it now. And I must say, these high expectations were fulfilled. "Sinister" is indeed a very good horror film. In fact, I will go on to say that it was one of the best American horror films ever made that I have seen.
Ellison (Ethan Hawke, in his first appearance in a horror film) is an author of true crime novels who is seeking to follow up his one hit book. He moves his family into the very home where a gruesome family massacre had previously taken place. When he discovers a box of film reels which turned out to be video footage documenting the deaths of several families, his research turns into a real life horror for him and his family.
The eerie and tense atmosphere is set up from the very first scene where we see four people hanging from a tree. It never let up from there up to the bloody end. OK, there are horror clichés here like the house in seemingly perpetual darkness, or the sudden scares that lead nowhere, creepy children drawing on walls, and so on, but in this movie, these things actually work well to work up the audience's heart rates and goosebumps. The music is pulsating as it is unsettling, very effective to work you up some more with every step that Ellison takes in the house.
I liked the way that the gore was suggested instead of blatant. I liked the subtlety of many of its scare moments. I liked the way that Ethan Hawke realistically portrayed the tormented but desperate Ellison. A male protagonist is not always as easy to play in a horror film than a female one. I like the ending, how it may seem that you can figure out what is going to happen in the end, but the way it played out was pretty out-of-the-box disturbing and ultimately, shocking. I highly recommend horror film fans to watch "Sinister." It is as it is entitled.