Sinister is a horror movie directed by Scott Derrickson who also took a screenplay writing credit alongside C. Robert Cargill. The 2012 release is headlined by actor Ethan Hawke and follows his character as a true crime writer who moves his family into a house where another family was murdered. A part of the intrigue involves the fact that the family was murdered, but one child simply vanished. The book author theorizes that local law enforcement might not have turned over every stone and envisions himself finding the missing kid and the fame to go with it. Upon moving into the home the writer finds some old 8mm movies and when he plays them he finds out that the murders are one in a string of family murders dating back to the 60s and involving occult imagery. The tension builds as the lead character must decide whether or not discovering the truth is really worth the danger he may place his own family in.
Ever since the Nicholas Cage starring movie 8MM I have been fascinated by crimes caught on film as a subject matter. There is something super creepy that punches one in the gut involving such materials. Sinister plays the snuff film card just right and does indeed create a very scary vibe. However, the intrigue and atmosphere fall to the wayside and a classic horror movie formula takes over leading to disappointing results overall.
Ethan Hawke and all of the other actors are perfect in their roles. However, the movie that they are in relies too much on creepy ghost kids walking around and the lead character’s own son popping out of a box at one point to add to the “jump” style scares meant to get your date to cuddle up closer. It all became way too predictable and ready-made for a comedy to come along and parody it.
The plot of Sinister could have been so much more! Personally I would have liked the movie to set supernatural happenings aside and set the murders more into a reality based, still occult involved, scenario that leads up to an ending that is not so easy to guess. As it is now, Sinister’s ending is pretty much “a given” and feels like an overplayed note in the genre overall. However, I did like the mythology the horror legend is based around. It had more potential I think then what was tapped into.
The movie Sinister is slick looking and is worth a watch even if it is not ultimately groundbreaking. My review should get you to weigh your options though if you have another choice to view besides Sinister and prefer something with more of an original feel by the time the credits roll.