227 of 240 people found the following review helpful
on February 2, 2013
Horror movies these days don't really scare people. The only horror movie to really creep someone out more recently is the
first Paranormal Activity. But that's now been done to death. All horror movies now a days are either remakes or go for shock and become what is the newer term, "torture porn", until now. Sinister came along just in time for all of us to get our
Halloween chills and scared the crap out of America. I have seen a lot of horror. I even go for those really bad SyFy B-rated
ones for laughs. The newer horror doesn't scare because it's predictable and instead it disgusts me. The over use of torture and gore that have nothing to do with the plot. Sinister however does something different. Ethan Hawke plays the character of a true crime writer desperate to live his glory days, almost at the cost of his family. And he plays it well. The violence that actually has to do with the plot was creatively filmed. And because the story was unique and not a rehash, the creepy atmosphere and scare wasn't predictable. Halloween 25 is predictable. Michael Myers is going after a family member. Texas Chainsaw Massacre is predicatble. Leatherface is going to kill people with a chainsaw. Saw 10 (or whatever number they are on
now) is going to torture people in weird contraptions. The list goes on and you get the drift..... With Sinister, I didn't even see this movie coming. The trailer gave nothing away. It scared me. And that is what a horror movie should do.
143 of 157 people found the following review helpful
on October 20, 2012
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
Director Scott Derrickson's latest entry into the horror genre, the aptly titled `Sinister', is an instant classic.
Egomaniacal true-crime novelist, Ellison Oswalt, moves his wife and two kids into the house where an unsettling murder involving a family of five has recently taken place. He plans to write about the incident and the missing child, who was apparently spared and kidnapped by the killer, hoping that he can solve the mystery without the help of the local authorities.
As he stores boxes in the attic, he finds several reels of Super 8 film and a projector. Each film contains increasingly graphic and macabre footage of a family being murdered. Upon further inspection, Ellison discovers that a pale, hollow-eyed figure can be seen lurking in the background in each one of the home movies. A pattern begins to emerge, as Ellison becomes consumed with the dark secrets that lie within the films. Further investigation confirms that there are demonic forces at work, and that Ellison may have opened a gateway that has placed his family in danger.
`Sinister' takes familiar themes and situations and spins them in entirely different directions, making the film unpredictable and highly unnerving as a result. The film score by Christopher Young is almost a character in and of itself. It accentuates the disturbing nature of the film, cranking the scares all the way up to eleven. Ethan Hawke delivers an extraordinarily nuanced performance, and this ranks among some of his best work. The rest of the cast is just as good, under the direction of Scott Derrickson, who pulls absolutely no punches for the entirety of the film. Where most directors would turn away from such material, Derrickson dives right in, creating a cinematic experience that will live forever in your memory.
`Sinister' is utterly disturbing and the best horror film that I have seen all year. Not for the squeamish, that's for damn sure.
Rated R for terror and violence. 110 minutes. Directed by Scott Derrickson. Released by Summit Entertainment.
93 of 103 people found the following review helpful
on December 14, 2012
This movie I have to say, is one of the best horror film's I have seen in theaters since "Orphan" (2009). I don't get scared easily and the movie brought chills down my spine!!! The dialogue in the film was good, the acting was much better than expected (I am a huge fan of Ethan Hawk from Day Breakers, the cinematography was perfect, the story definitely carried out smoothly, and the idea behind the movie and having a descent original supernatural climax was really what kept this movie on the edge of your seat! A lot of horror films in the past that are about supernatural things but end up having a human climax is disappointing to me in most movies (cry wolf, sorority row, etc). The ending really caught me off guard, and ended in a way that makes u feel cold and creeped out. This movie makes you think. I don't know how anyone wouldn't find this film creepy, or sick to say the least and if you don't think so then something is seriously wrong with you. Amazing film! Wish there was an extended cut, but o well! Very original and creepy. People don't seem to realize this kind of movie hasn't really been thought before (families dying together without any control) and it gives you a really bad feeling in your stomach.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
"Sinister" doesn't develop very logically. What's more, it invokes a really exotic, far-fetched basis for its menace. However, there are some memorably eerie, disturbing scenes in the film. So if you're looking more for sensation than for anything strictly sensible, you'll probably find this film worth your time.
In addition, there are a lot of good extras on this DVD. There are two fairly interesting director/writer commentaries.
Then, among the bonus materials, there is also a brief documentary about the market value fate of any real house which has a gruesome history. Brokers often have trouble selling such properties, at least for a decade or so. After that, purchasers occasionally come forward with the intention of making money off the shocking events that those walls witnessed. The new owners give tours, or challenge people to spend a night among the ghosts of those murders. This DVD documentary focuses on one such house in Villisca, Iowa, where a whole family fell victim to an axe murderer in the early 1900's.
So all in all, there's enough on this DVD to keep you watching - and watchful.
39 of 48 people found the following review helpful
on October 26, 2012
For whatever reason, there is something eerie about old home video tapes, especially when unexplained and horrible things happen to the people in them. Ethan Hawke plays a crime novelist who writes about unsolved cases and puts an extra spin on his book by actually moving to the scene of the crime. He gets in a little over his head, though, when he moves into a house in which a family was recently found hanging from the limb of a large tree.
*SPOILER ALERT* As he searches for clues as to how this family died, he stumbles onto a box of old home movies that date back 30 years, and in each video, another killing took place. Hawke discovers a connection to the occult, but becomes even more confused when a series of supernatural events start to occur within the house. He enlists the help of a local deputy to track down details about each crime, and what he discovers, of course, sets the movie up for a twist at the end. The only thing lacking in this film was the ending, given the fact that Hawke's characler seemed so intelligent and determined during the first half of the film, only to become naive and forgetful during the latter stages. The film is not gory, but it does tend to stay with you after you leave the theater.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 14, 2014
Format: Amazon Instant VideoVerified Purchase
I liked this movie. The premise is good although I think the Ethan Hawke's character could have been a little more clearly defined as a self-absorbed douchebag who clearly doesn't care what danger he puts his family in. The look of the villain could have been better conceived. As it was, he looked like a weird amalgam of The Crow and Jack Skellington. A little more of him in the shadows, and not clearly being see to be a guy in a long coat and a mask would have been better. The home movies and the music will stick with you. A nice little fright film.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on June 15, 2013
Format: Amazon Instant Video
Let's look at a brief history of what the horror films have brought us through the decades, shall we? After the Universal Monsters had all their eerie night in the dark, British sensibilities brought us the Gothic ghost horrors of the fifties and early sixties. Then the late sixties and seventies brought us a slate of movies involving secret satanic rituals and demonic possessions (which reflected real national fears of such societies according to polls at the time). The late seventies and eighties gave birth to the unstoppable killing machine of the slasher flicks and their near infinite variations. The nineties were a period of nostalgic retreads with the only lasting sub genre being the "found footage" films that splashed into widespread success with the hit The Blair Witch Project. Currently, Hollywood makes any variation or combination of the above sub genres- possession and found footage films clearly the most popular. Sinister says, "why not combine all of those genre's into one film." And it does it well. The film lives off the strength of Ethan Hawke's character, true crime fiction writer Ellison. It contains a powerful and compelling narrative that unfolds with the proper taunt amount of pacing, stronger than most horror films. It has some disturbingly real and grisly visuals unrestrained by its PG-13 rating thanks entirely to clever film making. While no horror movie ever really scares me, those images stuck with me which is a testament to its quality. The ending was telegraphed and the reveal of a certain supernatural element in the climax of the second act seemed technically lacking, but other than that the film is strong. Frankly, its probably one of my top ten horror films of the last decade... at least this week. All those lists are constantly fluctuating.
14 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on January 18, 2013
As my title references, a big part of this movie that really makes it stand out is the perfect balance between giving the viewer enough information to enjoy the film, but still keeping the dark plot vague until the last possible minute. This is so important because the fear and fascination that comes with the unknown is what really drives the pressure and build up to keep you on the edge of your seat and scared as hell.
Without giving away anything that could make this movie less enjoyable, it's about a man and his family moving into a new house where the protagonist plans to write a book about the terrifying murder that happened there. But when he finds some old films of people being killed in the creepiest ways you could imagine, he unveils something more.
They do a great job with walking you through the story at the same pace as the protagonist Ellison, played amazingly by Ethan Hawke. Seeing him slowly break down, trying to balance the yearning to leave, but the importance of writing his book in order to support his family and have fame is done great. I really love that they tell you everything you would ever want to know about the back story of this... let's just say monster, for sake of spoilers, even though it is much deeper then that.
You may be turned off to this movie when you hear that you have to watch these families being murdered, thinking it's just mindless gore. But it's really not, it serves a purpose to the story and the creators did a fantastic job with showing you enough to understand what happens and feel the brutality, but at the same time not overdoing it. A very respectful way of going about it.
So in conclusion I loved the story and Ethan Hawkes performance, thought it was scary, enjoyed the ending, and would recommend it to anyone that is interested.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 25, 2013
Format: Amazon Instant Video
It was ok. The trailer had made me think I wanted to purchase it. I'm glad I didn't since it's not a movie I am interested in seeing again.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 8, 2013
I watched "Sinister" with no real expectations. After all, most horror movies follow the same patterns and are barely worth watching. This one seemed headed in that direction until Ethan Hawke's character finds those old footage reels of snuff films. Those alone make this movie creepy. The soundtrack played as the reels roll and Hawke's character watches families be murdered in horrible ways is so strange and eerie. I had no clue where this movie was going, but I knew I was creeped out every time one of those snuff films was played.
The sense of impending doom is heavy, the acting is top notch, the crumbling family structure is believable, and everything is so mysterious that you realize that mystery and not knowing just what the hell is really going on is more frightening than true horror and gore.
When things come to light at the end of the films you do get the sense of things clicking into place, although admittedly if you spend too much time thinking about it all you'll wonder how and why certain things happened. For instance, why an evil force/serial killer would need a bunch of snuff films to strike again. It really is massively convoluted by the end, and yet, that makes it all the creepier. The mystery never truly ends. All you know is that no one is safe, and you had better hope you never find a box full of snuff films in your attic. If you do, don't watch them!