I’ve been interested in the work of Director / Writer Scott Derrickson since hearing he was a Christian many years back. I was fascinated to find someone else who shared not only my basic religious beliefs but also had a passion for the horror and science fiction genres I love so much. It’s not often you hear of Christians who are successful in Hollywood.
Derrickson has an impressive resume of films and actors he’s worked with over the years. His early endeavors consist of writing “Urban Legends: Final Cut” and directing and penning “Hellraiser: Inferno.” He moved on to take the helm of “The Day the Earth Stood Still” and “The Exorcism of Emily Rose.” Both of these films starred well-respected actors like Keanu Reeves, Laura Linney, and Tom Wilikinson. His latest film “Sinister” ranks at the top of his filmmaking career.
True crime writer Ellison Oswald (Ethan Hawke) gained notoriety ten years ago with a book about a grisly murder. After a couple unsuccessful novels, Oswald is looking to repeat his success and return to the top of the bestseller list. He takes up residence in the home where the victims he’s investigating actually lived and were killed.
While moving in, he discovers a box of Super 8 movies which hold footage of several brutal murders that he believes somehow tie together. As Oswald digs deeper into each crime, his world begins to crumble around him. Is he losing his sanity or is there a supernatural force out to get him and his family?
“Sinister” is the culmination of everything good about several horror sub-genres. You have the “Paranormal Activity” found footage concept covered through the use of the Super 8 films. People who enjoy movies with supernatural entities like the ones in “The Grudge,” “Boogeyman,” and others of that nature will enjoy it. Those who crave modern day ghost stories like “The Pact,” “The Apparition,” and “Insidious” will love it as well. There really is something for every type of horror enthusiast in “Sinister.”
The movie isn’t a sloppy hodge-podge of those movies, either. Derrickson ties everything together with a script that makes sense and a story that is well-paced and intriguing. It has slow-burning suspense and jump-scares combined together to keep you on the edge of your seat and nervously awaiting the next disturbing scene.
Several special features are included in the DVD version of “Sinister.” There are two separate audio commentaries featuring Director / Writer Scott Derrickson and Co-writer C. Robert Cargill. It also contains two featurettes entitled “True Crime Authors” and “Living in a House of Death.” Deleted scenes include optional audio commentary by Director Scott Derrickson. Lastly, we get a trailer for the film.
“Sinister” is a satisfying horror film which will appeal to many types of fright fans. It’s a successful combination of old and new tricks. When it comes to what we see onscreen, it has more in common with Hitchcock than it does gorier fare like “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” and the likes. Viewers who like a twisty storyline which leaves something for your imagination visually will enjoy “Sinister.”
“Sinister” is available now on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital Download.
For more articles by Eric Shirey, check out:
Movie Review: “The Awakening”
Blu-ray Review: “Mimesis: Night of the Living Dead”
DVD Review: “Cherry Tree Lane”