Welcome to the Second Union 31 Days of Horror event! Every day leading up to Tuesday, October 31st, (starting Sunday, October 1st) we will post a review of one horror film.
Today’s Film: Sinister. Enjoy!
Fair Warning: This is by far the most graphic entry on my list, so gladly shy away if this ain’t your thing. I will be describing things in detail, so you have been warned.
Sinister is directed by Scott Derrickson and follows a true crime writer who moves his family into the house where multiple families were brutally murdered in years prior. He stumbles upon home movies with innocent titles, but he ends up viewing the families being hanged, drowned, and more. There’s one common denominator, however; one child is missing from each slaughter. After he digs deeper and finds drawings relating to each crime scene, he discovers the secret of “Bughuul”, who appears in every home movie. Now, this may sound more like a psychological thriller. And that it is. However, it’s use of jump scares and the excellent pacing make it a horror film, but not your typical one.
I want to jump right in with my issues because there are a few. There are moments where I feel a simple choice could’ve been made to prevent an outcome, but it isn’t made. I think we’ve all experienced that feeling when a movie character doesn’t make the clear right decision and we feel like yelling at the screen. There are also some unnecessary jump scares that I feel were just used to hold the viewer’s attention for just a little while longer until something really big happens.
Ethan Hawke’s performance is fine. It certainly isn’t Oscar-worthy, but that’s due in part to the character he plays being kind of a drag. He’s quite selfish, bringing his family to a home where families were killed. The most compelling part of his character is how the story affects him (in more ways than one). The other performances are fine, too, but they really don’t have much to work with here.
Sinister has some great direction, a phenomenal ending, and some very engaging thrills. However, it may come as no surprise that the performances are just okay, and the overuse of jump scares is a technique that should never be used in psychological thrillers. Ever. I’m going to give Sinister a B+.
Sinister stars Ethan Hawke, Juliet Rylance, Fred Thompson, James Ransone, Clare Foley, Michael Hall D’Addario, Vincent D’Onofrio. Directed by Scott Derrickson.