Old 10-04-2012, 04:49 PM

Directed by Scott Derrickson

Written by C. Robert Cargill and Scott Derrickson

Plot: Found footage helps a true-crime novelist realize how and why a family was murdered in his new home, though his discoveries put his entire family in the path of a supernatural entity.

Starring: Ethan Hawke, Juliet Rylance, Fred Dalton Thompson, James Ransone

Rated R for disturbing violent images and some terror

I was half and half on this (really liked Exorcism of Emily Rose but was bored by the Day the Earth Stood Still). Early word is positive, so I'll probably see a late night showing.
Reply With Quote
Old 10-04-2012, 07:15 PM
This looks surprisingly entertaining and as you said, I've been hearing nothing but good things. It doesn't look like anything particularly new in horror, but it does hit all my favourite horror motifs based on the trailer.

I'll probably see either this or Argo on the Tuesday cheap night.
Reply With Quote
Old 10-04-2012, 08:18 PM
I might actually check this out, it'd be the first horror movie I saw in the theater since Cabin in the Woods. I liked Insidious and I think this movie is from the same producers, it looks similar; a smarter than average horror flick with good scares.
Reply With Quote
Old 10-04-2012, 09:44 PM
With the trailers, R-rating, and good reviews, I have no reason not to see this.
Reply With Quote
Old 10-04-2012, 09:51 PM
Originally Posted by Jig Saw 123 View Post
With the trailers, R-rating, and good reviews, I have no reason not to see this.
Cosign. At first I was wondering why Ethan Hawke would be in such a movie but from all accounts its actually pretty good and scary.
I'll check it out for sure.
Reply With Quote
Old 10-05-2012, 02:49 AM
This certainly looks to be better than the average horror flick, and I have to support C. Robert Cargill.
Reply With Quote
Old 10-05-2012, 02:52 AM
Thank god there is something for Halloween to see besides the latest Paranormal Activity. Doubly so for that it actually looks pretty good.

However, unless it ends up tanking at the box office, I'm probably going to wait to see this closer to Halloween. It might make for a good double bill with Silent Hill: Revelations, which also looks to be another decent movie for Halloween.
Reply With Quote
Old 10-12-2012, 02:14 AM
My review:

A story about a writer is only successful if you are able to convincingly get inside their head. This is particularly difficult in the cinematic medium and entirely hinges on performance. In Sinister, Ethan Hawke is brilliant as true crime writer Ellison Oswalt, a complex and fascinating character that is perhaps better than this film deserves. As the film slowly progresses Hawke becomes increasingly unhinged, his face contorting and twitching with the slow notes of escalating madness. As Ellison becomes more and more obsessed with the true crime story at the center of his new book, Hawke digs deep and makes the internal external. His performance is the anchor of the film and all elements of genuine disturbance come from the attachment the audiences builds with Ellison.

Sinister is a deceptively simple film. Much of its runtime is spent in a dark office with Ellison watching old Super 8 films on a hung up sheet. The flickering of the projector illuminates Ellisonís face as he becomes engrossed by the images, and this gives literal meaning to the popular horror trend of found footage. Although the images on the screen are grisly, there is a disconnect that exists. I found it difficult to be shocked or concerned by fleeting horrific images of characters I donít know. The horror that exists, then, is the way in which these images affect Ellison and the way in which his behavior begins to affect his family and his life. British actress (and relative newcomer) Juliet Rylance proves an appealing and focused screen presence as her Tracy grapples with her husbandís work and his deep and unfortunate desire to regain his old fame. A major stress is put upon the Oswalt family as a direct result of Ellisonís actions. His work consumes him, and I found this effective and unnerving.

As the mystery of the Super 8 images begins to unravel and the direction of Ellisonís book becomes more clear, the film becomes less successful. Director (and co-writer alongside the popular internet film critic C. Robert Cargill) Scott Derrickson builds a methodical sense of dread coupled with Christopher Youngís bizarre score. The film is unusually elegant and intelligent in the way that it builds and evolves over its first act and it is an appreciated slow burn. On the flip side, Derrickson succumbs to more obvious methods of horror filmmaking and there is a fair share of jump scares and unnecessarily flashy editing and camera tricks in the 2nd and 3rd acts that is in stark juxtaposition of what came before. Chris Norrís images are moody and play with light and shadow quite well and help establish a dark atmosphere.

Sometimes a mystery is better left unexplained and the unknown can be far more terrifying than any sort of explanation, reasonable or otherwise. Sinister utilizes sloppy exposition through the form of a thankless and uncredited Vincent Díonofrio (only seen on video chat) and James Ransone as a Deputy who brings a welcome amount of levity to the film. As things become more clear though the filmmaking is strong it becomes less interesting and more obvious. Ethan Hawkeís work in Sinister is so accomplished that it is a shame that he is left with a dangling character without a conclusion. What was once a smart examination of a writerís breaking psyche becomes a rote and typical horror film that seems more interested in leaving room for a sequel then delivering a satisfying completion to Ellisonís arc.
Reply With Quote
Old 10-13-2012, 07:33 AM
Originally Posted by SpikeDurden View Post
My review:

Ethan Hawke is brilliant as true crime writer Ellison Oswalt, a complex and fascinating character that is perhaps better than this film deserves.
*ever so slight spoilers below*

I wouldn't say he was brilliant, but stacked up against the rest of them he's fucking sublime. He deserves commendation for curbing his laughter whenever sharing a scene with that wife of his, Juliet Rylance. Funnily enough, she's won an Obie Award. For those of you that didn't know (neither did I), it's an off-broadway theater award. This isn't surprising. Her scenes are incredibly exaggerated to the point of ludicrous. She must have thought all that non-stop yelling would put across the point that she's mad. Awful 'performance'. It didn't help that all she had to work with was tacky dialogue. Jesus, was this dialogue stinking. An excellent example of lazy storytelling; revealing plot through dialogue, not action. Every single characters purpose, bar Hawk, was there to serve backstory. 'Deputy Doo-Doo' is possibly the most loathsome character in recent times.

That being said, the film deserves its marks in some places. The home videos are bleak, I mean downright distressing. The Pool Party one in particular. And that Lawnmower scene. I will say that I haven't felt so distraught by a scene in donkeys years. What's really scary in this film is the sound of it, especially in these home videos. Hats off to Christopher Young there.

When the Super 8 videos are shut off, we're subjected to jolts at the hands of scorpions, snakes, sleepwalkers, termites, a rottweiler . . . and a slo-mo ballet-dancing ghost-child. Mind you, Juliet Rylance is far more petrifying than all combined.

And what's this satisfying pay-off that everyone's been talking about? It was so feeble and I saw it coming a mile away.

lol line - "I'll make you famous again, DADDY!

lol screenshot :

Last edited by viceus; 10-13-2012 at 08:19 PM..
Reply With Quote
Old 10-13-2012, 12:19 PM
Maybe my horrid theater experience tainted the film, but I feel rather disappointed.

On one hand, the cast was great. Hawke was fantastic and carried the film like a champ, the child actors were surprisingly good as well. Agreed on the role of the wife. Nothing to her character but yelling. Deputy So and So brought a welcomed amount of humor to the mix and the film does create a wonderful sense of dread and unease. The video's were appropriately disturbing, the score truly unique, and one particular sequence got me all goose-fleshed like a motherfucker. But the ending dropped the ball hardcore imo. It just sort of happened and that was it. No build up, just sort of "Ya, this is it" THE END.

This didn't get under my skin nearly as much as Insidious did. I know genre fans half loved that one, half thought it was terrible, but both films suffer from disappointing endings. Insidious went a bit too over the top while Sinister rushed through without any sort of build up what so ever.

I should probably check it out again because my audience was a fucking trainwreck from frame one and it automatically put me in a bad mood and took me out of the film, so a re-watch is definitely in order.
Reply With Quote
Old 10-13-2012, 03:29 PM
-I like how much this family conserved power. I like how, when Ethan Hawke is walking through the house at night with a baseball bat, all the light switches in their off position stick out like sore thumbs as if they're screaming at Hawke to act like a normal human being.

-I like how this house is always dark. I like how even when there's a shot of sunlight coming through the window the house still isn't lit up on the inside.

-I like how Vincent D'Onofrio literally phoned in his performance. Sure it's a video phone, but still.

-I like how this movie finds kids with dried cake on their face going 'shush' scary.

-I like how BAGOUL (or Baguul or Buguul or Baghoul, this demon has more variations on his name than Gadaffi) looks like Lordi decided they didn't need a triangle player and let one of their own loose.

-I like how a disturbing home video involving a lawnmower loses its effectiveness when they decide to have someone scream at the top of their lungs over the soundtrack. Oh, you thought the video was scary enough on its own? Sorry, we thought it'd be better if we startled the shit out of you instead.

I liked all of these things. I, however, did not like Sinister.
Reply With Quote
Old 10-13-2012, 04:38 PM
I thought the movie was scary fun until the second half. A lot like Insidious.

I'm an easy audience for these movies. I'm spooked by apparitions. I think 8mm 'home movies' are unsettling. I welcome loud noises and solitary strings and ominous cult chants. I was actually so spooked by the movie that I felt palpable relief when the screenplay started to slide into silly, and I realized I would have no problem sleeping that night. The ending twist almost made me laugh out loud in the theater (but I didn't want to be that guy).
Reply With Quote
Old 10-13-2012, 08:26 PM

Originally Posted by someguy View Post

-I like how this movie finds kids with dried cake on their face going 'shush' scary.

Last edited by viceus; 10-13-2012 at 08:28 PM..
Reply With Quote
Old 10-13-2012, 08:30 PM
Originally Posted by someguy View Post
-I like how a disturbing home video involving a lawnmower loses its effectiveness when they decide to have someone scream at the top of their lungs over the soundtrack. Oh, you thought the video was scary enough on its own? Sorry, we thought it'd be better if we startled the shit out of you instead.
I fully agree with everything you say, but this made me brown my boxers.
Reply With Quote
Old 10-14-2012, 04:04 PM
- I really liked the importance of the attic, very lovecraftian feel.
-I like that they tried to leave. They made the right choice, theoretically, and stilled paid for it.
-I loved the lighting.
-I thought Ethan Hawke did a great job. I don't really know why he took this role as I thought he outperformed for the film.
- I loved deputy so and so
-I liked the absence of a major villain on screen for most of the film. The slow burn is what made the first act good and the rest of the movie watchable.
-I liked the look of the demon, but i'm overall pretty bored with pagan deities killing children.

I liked the movie, overall a 6/10. Not horrible and definitely worth a watch if you're craving a horror flick, otherwise wait for dvd.
Reply With Quote
Old 10-14-2012, 04:22 PM
Jeese, I think some of your criticisms on this flick are a little harsh. Sure, the film has its fair share of cliche horror moments, but I thought the film had a nice style and a solid mystery to accompany it. I wouldn't call it the most intelligent horror movie i've seen, but it delivers enough substance to surpass several recent horror releases on the intelligence scale. It probably could of benefited a bit more from leaving certain elements and images to the imagination, but when it wasn't jolting my nerves it was certainly creeping me out.

This is the film the Ring should have been. For me, it mostly succeeded in executing the full potential of the premise: Can film itself be evil?
Reply With Quote
Old 10-16-2012, 02:41 AM
What a letdown!

There are WAY too many scenes of Ethan Hawke walking around dark hallways. In fact, that's practically all the first half or so of the movie is! And the story ended up being kind of lame, and the ending felt flat.

Hawke was fine (although his character was kind of dumb and not very likeable either) and some of the boo scenes worked. But that's all this movie really had going for it.

6/10 (thinking about lowering it to a 5 though)
Reply With Quote
Old 10-16-2012, 05:32 PM

Walked out of it with like 15 or 20 minutes left.

Didnt give a shit how it ended. Fuckin terrible and not scary at all.

Reply With Quote
Old 10-16-2012, 07:14 PM
I'm shocked that anyone could be that letdown by this film. I thought it was a rather decent horror flick, nothing groundbreaking, but it was very entertaining.
Reply With Quote
Old 10-17-2012, 04:47 PM
I thought it started off decently, but it didn't build to a satisfying ending. There's no build up to a grand finale. The film shifts to a huge mansion in the last act, but it doesn't even take advantage of the setting. It just sort of ends its story with Ellison passing out.

The 8mm films were great, but the mystery surrounding the films has already been answered within the first half hour. It felt like the writers needed to mine their concept some more to live up to the promise of the setup. It's a shame they didn't let this gestate longer. They really did have something.

The real star of the movie is Christopher Young's score which has an experimental, creepy sound that at times reminded me of early CocoRosie songs. It gave the film a great atmosphere. Ethan Hawke also gives another solid performance, but much like with Daybreakers, he's in a film that doesn't know how to take advantage of its concept.

I can't wait for the next film by the producing team behind this and Insidious. I'll even give them the title they should use: Heinous.

Last edited by Cop No. 633; 10-17-2012 at 04:49 PM..
Reply With Quote
Old 10-18-2012, 02:35 AM
I liked Daybreakers a lot. Much better than this IMO.
Reply With Quote
Old 10-18-2012, 09:38 AM
Reply With Quote
Old 12-12-2012, 02:07 AM
sinister is nice horror movie with some great visual effects.
Reply With Quote
Old 12-13-2012, 09:17 AM
Originally Posted by Lost in Space View Post
-I like that they tried to leave. They made the right choice, theoretically, and stilled paid for it.
Except that this was foreshadowed as a wrong decision early in the film. However the movie characters don't do anything with it, but as a movie watcher you know it's a big deal. It's frustrating that there is a big clue that doesn't get any exposition (confirmation) until the 'twist' end.

I agree with the general consensus that it starts good, but ultimately fails. As soon as the ghost kids start appearing the film goes downhill. The demon looked very disturbing but was underused.
Reply With Quote


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump