For the past several years Horror movies have been coming out pre-packaged with accepted failure. The general audience has even come to terms with the fact that there have not been many good films in the genre in a while. Mostly they’re bad sequels, unnecessary and shameful remakes and failed concepts as well as an overabundance of torture porn with the growing subgenre started by films like Hostel and the countless Saw sequels. There have definitely been a lot of bad horror movies, but the genre isn’t completely doomed. I don’t discount them based on their genre. I even went into Sinister expecting, or at least hoping for a good horror film.
I happen to like really bad horror movies. A lot actually. I used to watch them often and had a lot of fun doing so. I realized that I hadn’t been watching bad horror movies for a while and that actually made me miss them. I’m going to go out of my way to watch bad horror films now. With Sinister I had a 100 percent chance of winning. I figured it’s either a good film or it’s bad, either way I’ll end up enjoying it. Thankfully for the general viewing audience who don’t share my strange outlook on bad movies, Sinister is actually a good one. The movie does have plenty of flaws including one near fatal example, but I’ll get to that later. Sinister was directed by Scott Derrickson the same guy who did The Exorcism of Emily Rose. I’ve never seen that film nor do I plan on it.
Sinister stars Ethan Hawke who I haven’t really seen in much else. He was really good in this though, so I might check out some other stuff with him. The acting in horror movies is usually questionable at best, but it’s all solid here. There are supporting cast members, but it’s largely just Hawke for the majority of the film. He does a really good job of reacting to what’s going on. He seems genuinely scared in the situation, which in turn helps the audience feel the same way. Nothing kills the scare factor like the main character just shrugging everything off.
The opening shot of the film sets the tone for the movie. We see a family of parents and children being hung from a tree. This is the first of a series of found footage segments. I’m actually not a fan of the found footage subgenre, I think that it’s generally overused and gimmicky, but in Sinister it’s used very sparingly and to great effect. In this case, it’s actually a crucial part of the story. Most of the film is shot normally, but then we get these found footage segments which come from Ethan Hawke playing Super 8 film (which have been showing up more and more in movies). These are where the real horror comes from. That important aspect in them forgives the artificial fear invoked by the jump-scares at other parts of the film. Each of these sections shows a family being murdered in a different grisly way. They are shot with such a realism that it’s hard to watch. You feel like you’re witnessing people actually getting murdered. It will really unnerve you. Some of these segments feel a little off compared to others. For an example without spoilers, let me just say that the lawn scene feels out of place next to the more fitting car and pool scenes. There are some shots where nothing is happening, but the music just makes you uncomfortable. This is especially apparent during the found footage sequences. Whoever did the score for this film should win an award. The most impressive piece of music in the film to me at least was the music that played during the car part.
From the trailers you get the impression that the movie focuses around this ghost type creature. This thing is actually of a mythological background and is named “Baguul” (not sure how to spell that). Baguul is not actually in the film very much. Mostly you see him either in a still image or during a jump scare and I think this is a good thing. Movies often overuse something scary to the point where it becomes monotonous.
Sinister builds excellent tension and the ride leading up to the finale is fantastic, however the ending leaves much to be desired. Once the children start coming out, all the built up tension is lost, and any potential mystery or fear is gone. The ending seemed a little rushed and denies you the final payoff that you would want or expect. It really lowers the film, but don’t let that stop you from seeing this movie. I thought that Sinister was a great time leading up to the lackluster climax. So much so that it still remains a good time. In closing, Sinister is definitely worth watching, it will creep you out!