I decided to bite the bullet on this one, and watched it. I figured, 'Hey, the sequel's coming out!' so why not? Scott Derrickson acts as the director for this film. I don't know about everyone else, but I like 'em. Deliver Us from Evil is another horror film he did more recently, and though it had mixed-to-negative reviews from critics, I found it to be a darkly imaginative film. He'll also be directing Marvel's Doctor Strange film adaptation in the near-future, which will likely be interesting. Something else that doesn't get a lot of love though that he also directed is Hellraiser: Inferno, the sixth installment in the series, it's easily my favorite of them all and may be the only one from the long-lasting franchise that I'd call a genuinely good work on all cylinders.
Sinister follows Ethan Hawke's character Ellison Oswalt and his family when they move into a new house that just so happens to be where a family was murdered. I say 'just so happens,' but it was by-design, the father's a true-crime writer and anticipates solving their murder as his next 'big break' as an author. He soon discovers that there's a little bit more hiding to be found than what he expected.
The acting is well-done on all accounts, and Hawke has long-since proven himself a capable actor, and this film is no exception to that. In-fact, I would even call the characters one of the highlights of the film. Horror films have characters like this a lot, and this is nothing we haven't seen before in that sense, but the film goes to show you what happens when these characters are brought together well. Ellison comes off as a man latched onto recreating the success had in his youth, and gives into alcohol and other vices to deal with the depression that comes along the way in his search for salvation. His wife realizes that, and while she tries to remain supportive, you can tell she believes she's watching her husband rot away into nothingness and can't think of anything to do to help him.
This is the first film in a very long time that has actually disturbed me.
A lot of films disturb through gruesome and grotesque mutilations, and this film definitely has violence leaking around crevices, but that stuff doesn't really mean anything to me. I became desensitized to all of that by the time I was eight and capable of grasping the concept that it's only a movie. This film plays on different fears than that, the feeling that you've discovered something you weren't meant to discover, or something you were meant to discover but deeply regretted. The imagery in this film is top-notch and shows how damn-capable the director is at capturing a dark antagonist. Mr. Boogie is a character I'd love to see go the distance and be the next iconic horror character, and the way that they present him with a less is more approach, but yet, not slow-burn, is golden. Slow-burning films usually aren't nearly as good as what the concept of them would have you believe. They're usually not scary and don't even have the entertainment value to supplement that fact.
Sinister feels like it keeps giving you more and more, but in small sips, and is mesmeric and creepy with its visuals and way of thinking. I would say that my favorite aspect of the whole film would actually be the sounds, the chantings and the music all added such a raw and unearthly vibe. All of it is simply well-made, and the ideas of the bad guy's origin and the footage is a novelty that never goes away and in-fact, I only find myself loving more and more as it progresses. The character feels like a modern-day Freddy Krueger type-of nightmarish character. (without the comedy, of course.)
The only criticism I might say is that the jump-scares aren't exactly enticing nor do they really add much. I've always looked at jump-scares as fine in teensy, tiny amounts, but these ones feel unneeded and cheap. Deliver Us from Evil had a few jump-scares as well. I will let it slide though and forgive it simply because I think it's such an enjoyable film.
In the end, Sinister is one of, if not, the best modern-day horror film I have seen. The main-protagonist is well-developed and comes off as in-depth, meanwhile the supporting cast don't lag too far behind. Meanwhile, the cinematography and sound help supplement a terrific entity as the antagonist. I am definitely interesting in seeing the second one, and while it will likely lag behind, it's still safe to say that Sinister is worth a watch and worth your time.
Thanks for reading...