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Sinister (2012)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Scott Derrikson

Starring:
Ethan Hawke/Ellison
Juliet Rylance/Tracy
James Ransone/Deputy
Michael Hall D'Addario/Trevor
10 10
PLOT-CRUNCH
A true crime writer (Ethan Hawke) moves into a new home with the wife and kids to work on his new book, one that he hopes will put him back in the spotlight. While unpacking he finds a box in the attic. In it: a projector and rolls of 8 millimeter films. What’s on them? It isn’t old episodes of GI Joe! To hell we go!
THE LOWDOWN
Halloween season on the big screen is exciting again! Yes I am talking about Scott Derrickson's not a remake/reboot/re-imagining, Rated R and intelligent horror film SINISTER. Man that felt good! Not only was it Derrikson’s best work to date (in my useless opinion), it was also one of the most fulfilling modern horror celluloid injections!

From its novel and unsettling opening frames, my "Arrow Sense" hinted that I may be in for something special with this one and as the clock kept ticking down, and the film’s grasp squeezed tighter around my nads, I was happy to see that it was right. SINISTER slashed out a potent set up (a reverse found footage movie if you will - the lead finds the footage and we witness his story), slyly established its own devilish mythology (the evil at play here was compelling, and yes had sequel written all over it) and then took me on a road trip to creepy/disturbing land! SINISTER so reminded me of a horror film from the 70’s, the hey-days of the genre. It went out of its way to establish its characters, relationships and their motivations, making sure I believed and cared about the people in jeopardy. It then slow burned its way through its storyline, sucking me in deep into its mystery, giving me the willies left, right and center, back-handing me hard like I was a Bond girl in a Connery flick, to then finally pulverize me via its final act. What else can a genre fiend ask for!?

Another key strength here: You could not have asked for a better actor than Ethan Hawke to carry this one. Dude hit all the right notes and his performance actually affected me as I sank in my seat. There was one particular bit that had Hawke’s character lose his beans, and his nervous energy, the fear on his freaking face, sent chills down my spine. Kudos Hawke! The lad was well supported by Juliet Rylance (who shared a genuine chemistry with Hawke), James Ransone who brought much needed organic and circumstantial comic relief, Fred Dalton Thompson as the entertainingly deadpan Sheriff and child actors Clare Foley and Michael Hall D'Addario who sold their roles 100%. The flick pounded me into the ground aesthetically as well! The visuals effects were in-camera, adding further cred to the happenings (no CGI here) and the lighting was bleak with lots of plays with shadows (brrr). Derrikson's visual approach was again, akin to a flick from the 70’s as opposed to today’s more “cutty” and “shaky” tendencies. Am talking static shots, unnerving tracking shots, involving POV shots and lots of slow pans that had me cringing as to what was coming. All that macabre goodness was "Roided" up by genre veteran Christopher Young's INCREDIBLE score, which I would describe as industrial with some sampling. It was a truly unique audio experience and you bet your ass that I’m going to purchase that score and use it for writing. Definitely the most edgy and eerie horror film soundtrack of the year!

Add to that all that freaky sound design, a handful of scares that got me real good (one of them made me laugh nervously like a school girl sniffing glue), some moments of high tension and just an overall thick aura of dread and danger that kept me on my toes throughout and you get a new American horror classic! I haven’t been able to say that with a straight face for a while, but I just did it now. And I mean it! Any complaints? Minor ones. Some of the child actors didn’t fully sell me (and I don’t mean Hawke's onscreen kids), so that took me out a tad in some instances. One surprise was semi see through, but with that drilled, getting there kicked my ass nonetheless, so it evened out. But my biggest peeve was that I felt the ending held back and was a bit rushed. It's funny cause I heard people say they thought the film was too long. Me? Another 5 to 10 minutes tagged to that last act would’ve been ALL GOOD!

All in all SINISTER was the real deal! A mature and frightening horror film that got under my skin and stayed there afterwards. It was an ideal Halloween watch! One to see and one to own! Gracias to all involved! I soooooooo needed a horror movie like this!
GORE
We get some slit throats and some cruel kills that I won't reveal in the name of not spoiling the surprises. Not overtly graphic but disturbing all the same.
T & A
None and I didn’t need any for this one,
BOTTOM LINE
A horror flick from Hollywood released around Halloween aimed at us lowly adults instead of the target teenage audience or little girls that still wet their pants. Wha???? Is this a joke? Is there a hidden camera somewhere? Am I gonna wake up tied to a lawn chair to then be pulled in a swimming pool? Nope it's real. About f*cking time! SINISTER had most of its bases firmly covered; acting, chilling visual style, effective scares, potent suspense, originality, a killer score by Christopher Young and a finale that hit home. Granted some of the kids didn’t fully sell me and the cap off would have benefited of more breathing space, but those were minor scratches on what was in my world, a horror work of art! Yup SINISTER was near flawless and I personally hope it makes a lot of money and starts a new trend on the big screen: original horror made for adults! Wouldn't that be something! I have a dream...
BULL'S EYE
The story came from former AICN writer C. Robert Cargill.

Look out for an uncredited cameo by Vincent D'Onofrio as Professor Jonas.
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6:14AM on 09/17/2016

Finally got around to seeing this

I don't know how I missed this one for so long, but finally watched it tonight.
I liked it... enough. The setup, the films, the premise all worked wonders.
Strangely enough, the thing that was supposed to be scary about the movie -- the kids and the boogey man -- weren't scary at all (the kid ghosts were the least scary ghosts since Casper). They ended up pulling me out of a freakish setup rather than causing me to scream (which was a disappointment given I had goose bumps through many parts
I don't know how I missed this one for so long, but finally watched it tonight.
I liked it... enough. The setup, the films, the premise all worked wonders.
Strangely enough, the thing that was supposed to be scary about the movie -- the kids and the boogey man -- weren't scary at all (the kid ghosts were the least scary ghosts since Casper). They ended up pulling me out of a freakish setup rather than causing me to scream (which was a disappointment given I had goose bumps through many parts early in the film). It also didn't help that I figured out both "twists" pretty early on (I'm not especially clever -- one of them was pretty much spelled out in the trailer)
I certainly wouldn't go full-boat with this. Maybe 7.5/10, but I did have a good time with it, so I can't complain.
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5:55AM on 05/14/2014

Superb!

Absolutely loved it! A couple of times I really bounced off my couch, it was that thrilling!
Absolutely loved it! A couple of times I really bounced off my couch, it was that thrilling!
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4:00AM on 10/10/2013

Normally I agree with you...

BUT... and it is a BIG BUT like Mariah Carey's, although I loved the premise, the mood, the acting, pretty much everything, and fully agree and appreciate the nice, refreshing Retro style and idea, I'm telling you, all those shots of the children in the house just standing behind someone or next to them, but they can't see them, and then they mug at the camera for a moment and then do this full-on cartoon run away.... GEEZ (and yes, I KNOW that is probably the world's longest run-on
BUT... and it is a BIG BUT like Mariah Carey's, although I loved the premise, the mood, the acting, pretty much everything, and fully agree and appreciate the nice, refreshing Retro style and idea, I'm telling you, all those shots of the children in the house just standing behind someone or next to them, but they can't see them, and then they mug at the camera for a moment and then do this full-on cartoon run away.... GEEZ (and yes, I KNOW that is probably the world's longest run-on sentence...)

It's just that those scenes, in my lowly and wretched opinion anyway, are just SO damn LAME and are so jarring to the excellent overall mood of the film, that it just about ruins it for me. I don't know, maybe I should really take another look at it; maybe I'm giving too much emphasis to those parts, but they were just SO bloody STUPID that I guess I felt at the time that it was just unforgivable.

Now, what I think MIGHT have come across a whole hell of a lot better, would have been if they just showed shadowy, unclear images of the children in those scenes and deliberately made them MUCH more indistinct and WAY more spooky, you know, kind of a Guillermo Del Torro Special, THEN, maybe it would have worked just fine. But, just to show them suddenly appear, fully and clearly with this goofy Halloween look, stare at the camera smirkingly (smirkingly?) like saying 'Heh, the MOFO doesn't even know I'm here...', and then do this totally Charlie Chaplin run away, just makes me sit there and wonder just exactly WHAT would it be like to be a woman? Uh, *cough... I mean, it makes me wonder what the HELL the director was thinking, throwing in these really DUMB, gratingly amateurish little snippets that to me anyway completely ruin the genuinely creepy and foreboding atmosphere that they have worked pretty dang hard to create up to that point.

Like I say, I probably should just go back and watch it again...
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8:02PM on 10/16/2012
I'm right there with you Arrow. The opening grabbed hold of me, and from there was thrust into the dark descent of the madness known as Sinister.
Now this really is a movie that will split audiences. My father and I love horror movies and I really dug this one while he fell asleep. It really is a slow burn.
However, for me, the creepiness just grew and grew as the movie ticked on. By the end I was basically shaking as I was so unnerved from the happenings. As Arrow said I even laughed at one
I'm right there with you Arrow. The opening grabbed hold of me, and from there was thrust into the dark descent of the madness known as Sinister.
Now this really is a movie that will split audiences. My father and I love horror movies and I really dug this one while he fell asleep. It really is a slow burn.
However, for me, the creepiness just grew and grew as the movie ticked on. By the end I was basically shaking as I was so unnerved from the happenings. As Arrow said I even laughed at one point from how creeped out I was.
Was the movie predictable? Sure, but boy was it effective.
See this movie if you like the idea of an effective slow-burn, creepy horror movie. Don't see it if you are looking for a PG-13 horror, done by previous music video director, quick cuts, garbage.
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12:57PM on 10/15/2012
A couple walking out of the film said, "don't bother, it was boring!" I still proceeded to watch it and found out they were unfortunately correct. Its a Netflix movie, not worth the price of a theater ticket.Completely forgot about the film after leaving the theater. WAIT FOR RENTAL, YOU'LL BE GLAD YOU DID!
A couple walking out of the film said, "don't bother, it was boring!" I still proceeded to watch it and found out they were unfortunately correct. Its a Netflix movie, not worth the price of a theater ticket.Completely forgot about the film after leaving the theater. WAIT FOR RENTAL, YOU'LL BE GLAD YOU DID!
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11:45AM on 10/15/2012

Sinister

Worth the time and money
Worth the time and money
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11:00PM on 10/12/2012

Pretty good

I liked it ok. Maybe if it wasn't for the fucking chittery assholes behind me the whole time I would have been more invested in the film, but it didn't win me over like it is other genre fans. It does sport good acting, a good sense of dread and it's got more smarts than most horror films these days, but I don't know....maybe I need to see it without assholes distracting me the whole time.
I liked it ok. Maybe if it wasn't for the fucking chittery assholes behind me the whole time I would have been more invested in the film, but it didn't win me over like it is other genre fans. It does sport good acting, a good sense of dread and it's got more smarts than most horror films these days, but I don't know....maybe I need to see it without assholes distracting me the whole time.
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3:36PM on 10/12/2012

Well made but, far too 'been there,done that"

Glad Arrow enjoyed it but, for me it was too reminiscent of The Ring and The Grudge to really be effective. I felt I'd seen it all before despite some good spooky moments and well executed jump scares and the boogie man was far too generic to be scary and the ending far too predictable. Worth a rental but not a ticket price.
Glad Arrow enjoyed it but, for me it was too reminiscent of The Ring and The Grudge to really be effective. I felt I'd seen it all before despite some good spooky moments and well executed jump scares and the boogie man was far too generic to be scary and the ending far too predictable. Worth a rental but not a ticket price.
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