Ellison (Ethan Hawke) is a successful crime writer, who has been searching for some new inspiration, his thirst for something new takes he and his family to a new town, and a new home with a secret. Once in the house Ellison discovers a box of Super 8 recordings, each one of which containing a terrible murder. Realizing he is closer to discovering the secret behind these killings than he ever expected, his quest for truth takes him into a very dark place, and he is not alone, his children also begin to suffer.
Sinister starts how it means to continue, with the harrowing scene of a family suspended from the branch of a tree, slowly they are raised from the ground and hung until they are dead. You get this image literally 5 seconds after the movie begins, the vision automatically sets the tone for the remainder of the movie.
Penned by C. Robert Cargill (Cargill to his fans) Sinister is a little on the predictable side, and while that might sound like a nasty mistake; this really is not the case. Sometimes a little bit of predictability is not a bad thing. It’s that sort of predictability that really gets under your skin, you see the scene being set up, the tension mounts, you feel the power of what’s happening, and you prepare yourself for that big jump, and even though you know its coming, it still gets you.
Even some of the most hardened horror fans will be eft traumatized in some way by the movie, if nothing else they’ll get that sensation as the hairs on their arms start to raise. The sort of “found footage” aspect where Ellison sees the murders committed by drowning, hanging, knife, fire, and lawnmower; really brings some unwelcome realism to the movie.
Sinister besides its other great attributes is a very insular piece, the action never once leaves the house (accept in the final minutes), and there are few or no characters bought into the action, as a result you build a relationship with the character of Ellison, and the sort of world he inhabits.
Sinister is given a further stab of fear by the presence of the character known as The Boogie Man (later revealed to be Bagul a pagan figure). The very arrival of the movies principal villain will further twist the knife into the viewers soul, this is one of the most terrifying villains in several years, and you cannot help but think this is not the last we will see of him.
This is far from a new story, what it is however is a series of familiar tried and tested scares, rolled into something so unhinging, it will really make you take other recent horror movies to task over their effectiveness. In terms of originality, don’t go looking here, but if your looking for something that might have the power to make you’re blood run cold, this might well be the place for you.