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Plot: Found footage helps a true-crime author realize how and why a family was murdered in his new home, though his discoveries put his entire family in the path of a supernatural entity.
Runtime: 110 mins Release Date: 11 Oct 2012
Best Horror Film in the Last Decade (by BobbyGuerrieri)
Ellison, played by Ethan Hawke, is a true crime novelist who is looking to publish a bestseller more than ten years after the release of his hit book, "Kentucky Blood". Ellison moves his family a wife and two young kids into a house that was the scene of a grisly crime, leaving a mother, father, and two children dead, and a third child missing. Upon moving in, Ellison finds a box of super 8 films in the attic. On the tapes are the murders of the family who previously lived in his house and four other murders dating back to 1966. The only connection between the murders is a symbol <more>
found in all the videos. With his marriage deteriorating and his children's behavior becoming increasingly strange, Ellison is determined to connect the dots and possibly even solve the string of gruesome murders.I'm sure everyone is familiar with the popular 'scary maze game'. Even if you know what is going to happen, you will most likely be scared in the moments leading up to the 'big scare'. You aren't scared of what is on the screen, but you're scared of what is about to be on the screen. That is the difference between surprise and horror. If the moments leading up to a jump scare are suspenseful, the actual scare is considered 'earned'. Too many horror movies nowadays have unearned jump scares. 'Sinister' is not at all one of those movies. It has it's fair share of jump scares, but after the initial shock, you don't feel at all relieved. The scares stick with you and you will go back to being just as tense as you were before the scare.Another way 'Sinister' differs from most modern horror movies is that it actually focuses on plot. The film's director Scott Derrickson spends just as much time focusing on plot development as he does on scaring us, much like he did with 'The Exorcism of Emily Rose'. Since the characters are more developed and have more depth, we are able to relate to them much easier. 'Sinister' is more of a drama about family than it is a horror movie.Ethan Hawke gives one of the best performances I've ever seen in a horror movie. He is great through the entire movie, but especially shines in scenes where he is frustrated. Juliet Rylance who plays his equally as frustrated wife is also great. With great performances from the two leads, it almost doesn't matter how well-acted the characters of their children are, but they are great nonetheless. Michael Hall D'Addario who plays Trevor provides one of the most shocking and terrifying scares I've ever seen I just wish it wasn't in the trailer. However, if it wasn't, I may have peed .I was lucky enough to see this movie in advance and attend a Q&A session with the director and writer. In the Q&A, they mentioned how this is a new take on the 'found footage' genre. This time however, instead of an "anonymous source" finding the footage and "editing" it from 36 hours to 80 minutes, the main character is the one who finds the footage. The audience is shown the footage, but not all at once. It is split up perfectly. Every time you hear the projector power up, you will automatically begin looking through the tiny slits between your fingers and you will certainly hold your breath.'Sinister' is disturbing. 'Sinister' is 'Saw' level disturbing. During some scenes, I was actually trembling. The ending is also extremely messed up and surprising. And messed up. Not to mention messed up. The shocking imagery and twisted murders with certainly stick with you. Luckily you won't have any nightmares about the movie, but that's only because you won't be sleeping at all.'Sinister' is the scariest horror movie in years and the best overall in the last decade. Horror fans will flock to see this movie and will not be disappointed. It is well-acted, well- written, well-directed, and most importantly, terrifying. If you see only one horror movie the rest of the year, let this be it. It is near-perfect and a step in the right direction for horror movies.bobbysmoviereviews.blogspot.com
Sinister. A Excellent Horror Film. (by shayden2010)
Sinister is very well made horror film. It is the only scary horror film I've seen for a very long time. It's never too cliché as most horror movies are. It never cheats you. The performances are believable and the story is intriguing and always moving. The director has control over his audience, and the audience is completely okay with that. I knew early into the film what kind of horror film it was and I how it would scare me. And that what was one of things it had going for it. You can anticipate the scares and that makes it much more frightening. Do not confuse anticipation with <more>
predictability. The movie wasn't too gruesome, which left more room for actual fear. All in all, it is a very good film, So good, it's almost... Sinister...
This one scared the hell out of me. With the eerie music to accompany the film it sure made the movie creepy as hell. The opening sequence felt so real that it got me hooked to know just what the hell is going on.I was watching it alone on Friday night after work and sure enough there were about less than 10 people in the theater all of whom were couples . I could bet with my bottom dollar that with this movie they'd be so engaged in the film that they wouldn't dare to think about making out.It is THAT SCARY!!!The film was directed by Scott Derrickson, the same guy who made THE <more>
EXORCISM OF EMILY ROSE; and he collaborated with the composer, Christopher Young, on that very film. I am quite familiar with Young's music score from his composition for A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 2 and it was creepy; also he did the score for Sigourney Weaver's serial killer film, COPYCAT.I'm telling you if those two managed to bring out the spine-chilling factor in EMILY ROSE, in SINISTER they really sealed the deal in being the potent filmmakers in the exploration into the paranormal and supernatural. It gave me goosebumps just thinking about it.One thing that I feel about SINISTER was that Derrickson together with Young brought us back to that atmospheric terror of the unknown that is truly nostalgic of horror films of the 70s.The feel of the movie was so scary that this was how THE AMITYVILLE HORROR should have been remade.In short, I'd highly recommend you or better still DARE YOU to see SINISTER. This is one good date movie if you want your date to crawl under your shirt; or just bring some best buddies to scare the crap out of you. I mean it may not be INSIDIOUS, nevertheless, if you love that then you'll love this.
The movie for jaded horror fans who think nothing can scare them (by larry-411)
Directed and scripted by Scott Derrickson "The Exorcism of Emily Rose," 2008's "The Day the Earth Stood Still" from a C. Robert Cargill story, "Sinister" is an exquisite realization of an original paranormal theme. The movie debuted in this same town's SXSW Film Festival in March.Ethan Hawke is Ellison Oswalt, a true crime author and devoted family man with a what-have-you-done-for-us-lately fan base and editor anxiously awaiting his next blockbuster. Wife Tracy Juliet Rylance and youngsters Ashley Clare Foley and Trevor Michael Hall D'Addario <more>
are tired of constantly moving from town to town as Oswalt is wont to plant temporary roots close to the subjects of his ripped-from-the-headlines novels. As the film opens, the Oswalts are moving into yet another new house, but Ellison swears this is the last time, and selectively informs his family of his intentions.In the process of unpacking, Ellison discovers a box of the previous owner's old home movies in the attic. Thus begins the odyssey into the unknown. Let it be said at the outset that this is not "just another found footage film." In reversing the role of viewer and protagonist, to some extent, it's Hawke's character who discovers the reels while we see his story played out on screen. We don't spend two hours watching shaky 8MM footage. They are integral to the narrative but aren't the sum of its parts.In his horror debut, Hawke turns in a striking tour-de-force performance that rivals anything I've seen recently "Insidious'" Patrick Wilson comes close . Rylance is delightful as the patient but exasperated wife who's barely willing to stand by her man for one more moment. Foley Abby in "Win Win" and D'Addario Josh in "People Like Us" are frighteningly authentic as the glue that holds this tight-knit family together. Fred Dalton Thompson "Law & Order's" D.A. Arthur Branch and former U.S. Senator does a star turn as the stubborn sheriff who will have nothing to do with outsiders tarnishing his town's already-shaky reputation. Welcome comic relief comes from underrated character actor James Ransone "Ken Park," "Inside Man," HBO's "The Wire" .This is Ethan Hawke's first foray into this genre, a simple consequence of his passion for the material. "He said he'd never do horror," paraphrasing the filmmakers in the Q&A following the screening here, but he fell in love with Derrickson's script. The casting of Juliet Rylance as his wife was also done at his suggestion. Their on screen chemistry is undeniable.The technical team doesn't miss a beat. Top-notch visual effects are always key in a film like this, but the common flaw in this genre lies in overdoing it. CGI and post-production trickery can certainly advance the narrative where appropriate but "Sinister's" old school in-camera effects, done while shooting, enhance the believability of the action.Cinematographer Chris Norr eschews hand-held for stationary tripod shots and Hitchcockian slow pans, with POV tracking shots that allow the audience to sense the protagonist's growing paranoia. The occasional subjective POV angle, where the character looks at the camera, effectively places the viewer into the scene.Lighting in the Oswalt home, where most of the action takes place, is appropriately subdued and rife with interplays of light and shadow. Hawke is often seen in silhouette, masking dark corners hiding secrets, literally. Terrifying night scenes beg the question, "Why are you going up into the attic?" Christopher Young's original score blends perfectly with needle-drop songs from some of the filmmakers' favorite indie bands. In a typical production, where third party songs will be inserted, the actors work to a temp track -- music that plays in the background until the company can obtain licensing for the tunes they want for the finished product, usually unknown although often hoped for during filming, that are then added to the soundtrack in post-production. With "Sinister," Derrickson and his team were able to purchase the rights prior to shooting so the cast members performed to a playback of the songs that would actually be used in the final cut. It does make a difference, especially when seasoned professionals like Hawke are "acting" in sync with the same music the audience hears in those scenes. It creates a symbiotic ambiance that links viewer to actor.As a reviewer, I try to keep expectations out of my thoughts and writing. After all, it's only fair to the filmmakers and me, and my readers to judge a movie on its merits. Fortunately, it's not too much of a challenge to be as objective as possible when entering the theater, especially if it's a premiere and no other reviews are out there and you haven't watched a trailer . But Fantastic Fest is a genre festival, after all, and one would not attend, theoretically, without being a fan of same. So expectations are placed on the film simply by virtue of the fact it's even being shown.That's why I'm happy to report that "Sinister" was all I hoped it would be. Yes, this is why I attend Fantastic Fest and movies like this make it worth the trip. This is the flick for jaded horror fans who think nothing can scare them. This one does it. "Sinister" will give you nightmares.
It takes a lot to scare me... This did! (by asda-man)
Ever since the very first trailer came out I thought, "now this looks good!" However, some quite poor reviews came in so my dreams were shattered slightly. But then suddenly some rave reviews came out, even from my favourite critic, Chris Tookey who gave it 5 stars! My faith was suddenly re-installed and I was incredibly excited to see it. It didn't disappoint!With "The Cabin in the Woods" and now "Sinister", 2012 is restoring my faith in modern horror. It's a truly outstanding film that had me gripped for its entire 115 minutes. The film doesn't <more>
dawdle about too much either, it opens with a highly unsettling clip of found footage and then we get a beautiful swooping shot of a man and his family moving in to a new house. It's a standard set-up that we've even seen a few months ago in the surprisingly fun horror, "The Possession" but it's a clever one because we're mostly focused on our hero and in a sense that is what the film is about. His obsession with himself and trying to be re-ignite his fame after writing a highly successful debut true crime novel, followed by several duds.I was quite surprised as to how much exposition was given to the main character and it only makes the film even more compelling than it is. He's also played brilliantly by Ethan Hawke, who makes up for the lack of acting skills his wife possesses. It reminded me a little of "The Shining" with the egotistical novelist stumbling upon a certain ghostly history, and it certainly contains the same amount of creepy moments. Ethan stumbles upon the super 8 films quite quickly which I was surprised and pleased about, as all too often there's a belated exposition before anything remotely frightening happens.These super 8 films are masterpieces in themselves. It's a sort of car crash effect, as you don't really want to see them, but you can't stop watching. They're all incredibly creepy, unsettling and sinister like what I did there? They are also set-up perfectly with the horrible grainy picture, silence as well as highly unsettling music that all adds to the creepiness. All of them are engaging and compelling to watch. They're also very chilling and are sure to engrave themselves into your mind for a long time after the film has finished.From then on it's an intriguing and creepy mystery as more and more disturbing information is uncovered. It's also clever how it's unclear if some of what Ethan's seeing is actually real or not. Is he really hearing noises or is it just the whisky talking? I liked the whole family element as well, showing the protagonist as not just some perfect hero, but also as a flawed character. The whole strained relationship with his wife is a fantastic element on top of the central ghost story. Although the woman who plays her is incredibly wooden!There's a strong, unsettling atmosphere that underlies through the whole film. The demon man is also quite frightening and not too much is explained about him which certainly adds to scare factor. I've heard people call this a boring film and a bad film, but it's none of these things. It's a genuinely horrifying horror film with fantastic writing and directing. It's the type of film that gets under your skin and leaves its print in your mind for a long time after the credits have rolled. The ending is one of the most disturbing things I've ever seen in a horror film and I've seen many!"Sinister" is a ghost story of Japanese proportions. By the end, I was actually terrified and had chills all down my back, which is something that doesn't happen too often. I never get scared watching films, but after this and seeing "Noroi: The Curse" which also frightened me, I was starting to think that I was becoming soft! But then I thought no. These are just brilliantly scary films that are high on atmosphere and don't solely rely on jump scares like too many American ghost films. "Sinister" is one of the best horror films this year. It has a relentless sense of dread throughout and is also incredibly effective and compelling. I can't wait to see it again, and also can't urge you enough to go and see it for yourself! Although, I'd recommend a night light for when you sleep.Please read my weird and wonderful horror movie review blog! www.asdaman.wordpress.com
"Sinister" boldly lives up to its name (by thefilmdiscussion)
In today's depressing world of the Hollywood sequel machine it's so refreshing to see a film that can still shock, scare and surprise. The director of such a film is Scott Derrickson, who refused to let a big studio dictate how his film would play out, and especially how it would end. He searched until he found a company that let him have complete control, a minor miracle. The result is "Sinister", a film so full of unmentionables and studio "no no's" that it feels almost foreign. What's certain is that the film feels uncomfortable, disturbing, and entirely <more>
horrifying."Sinister" is about a true-crime novelist named Ellison Oswalt Ethan Hawke , who, in search of his next great story, movies his wife Juliet Rylance and two kids to a new town so he can be closer to the crime scene of his planned story. His wife wants to know if they've moved next door to a murder scene "again". He promises "No", and he tells the truth. They've haven't moved next door to the scene of the crime, they've moved into it. Four members of a family were found hanging in a tree out back, and their little girl is still missing.While unpacking, Ellison uncovers a box of Super-8 films in the attic. Seemingly family home movies, he plays the first one and is shocked at what he finds halfway through. After a few shots of whiskey he returns to watch the rest, witnessing recorded murders before his very eyes. The names on the labels of the home movies take on a sickening double meaning: "Family Hanging Out", "BBQ", "Pool Party", among others. I won't mention the worst one, a segment that is so shocking it left the theatre in a dead quiet, and I'm still trying to shake it.Unbeknownst to Ellison, something evil lurks within the videos, a demon of ancient days known for doing insidious things, and watching the films releases its evil upon him and his family. It's only a matter of time before it seems he may be next.There are so many little layers to this film that one wonders how they'll all tie together or if they will even matter by the film's end credits. Surprisingly they do matter, and to Derrickson's credit he brings the house down with a riveting climax that zips everything up tight like a body-bag, without ever stooping into Hollywood Ending territory.Filmed with a sure eye for framing and with the patience to not burden the film with lots of quick cuts and jump-scares, the director creates a film of suspense that mounts and mounts. When the shocks come, and boy do they ever, they aren't cheap. They're scary as hell.The script allows for some excellent moments between all of the actors, moments of levity and brief laughter that are more than comic relief and thank God for any relief this film offers , they're touching and revealing of the characters. Ellison's motivations are strong to stay in the house, but so are his wife's to get outta there. When they finally do reach a decision, it may be too late. At nearly two hours, it's also thirty minutes longer than most horror films and just when you think it's reached a hair-raising climax, you ain't seen nothing' yet! Brace yourselves.-Thomas Bond
DON'T WATCH THE TRAILER! or at least try not too. I went into this film only knowing the title and the fact i was waiting for a scary movie to actually be... yep scary. Well i was in luck, as Sinister is exactly that...quite Sinister! I say try to avoid the trailers if u can because quite a lot is shown, although having said that you will probably be so absorbed into the film that you'll forget about what you have seen and still be spooked, BOO! : All the actors do a good job, Ethan Hawke is solid, not quite sure about the chemistry between him and his wife but i guess its hardly <more>
relevant in this film. The directing and editing of the film is slick with interesting angles and shots. The imagery is great and so are your jumpy moments even if it does contain a few of the horror Clichés.The plot is simple and follows true-crime writer Ellison Ethan Hawke as he discovers a box of home movies "found footage" of murders that put his family in danger. Some people may dislike the believability of the films central ethos for the evil protagonist; however i liked the original mythology created here, it adds something new to the table. Also If the film is successful im guessing it might be the Evil Character aka Bagoul will no doubt be a new item for Halloween stores! Although not a game changer in the genre, i would easily go and say this will be the scariest film of the year and if not, well thats just win-win for us all!! star ratings 7 good, 8 represents very good. 9 superb 10 epic
A Delightful Horror Treat! (by torchwood949-166-552404)
When the trailer boasted the producers of "Paranormal Activity" and "Insidious" the idea of what tone this film would be reared it's head. Based around a series of jump scare sequences and slow character sections in order to attempt to make you feel for the characters while easing the tension of the situation. It's a tired formula that is becoming all the more clichéd and repetitive. However Sinister manages to find ways to break free of these leashes that the horror genre is becoming tied down to.Ethan Hawk stars as a true crime writer known as Ellison who moves <more>
into a new home with his wife, Tracy Juliet Rylance and his two children, Ashley Clare Foley and Trevor Michael Hall D'Addario near the site of a local crime in order to get inspiration for his novel. During an exploration of the house Ellison stumbles across a box with an 8mm camera and a selection of films, which upon viewing exploit gruesome murders. This thrusts area hero into a terrifying mystery as he tries to piece together the meaning behind it all.With horror films these days we come to know what to expect. We're given characters that we can't connect with merely there to service the plot and an un-original story that we've seen time and time again bringing the audience no sense of engagement. But mostly we're never scared beyond the mere technique of a jump scare. With director Scott Derrickson we are shown again how mainstream horror can creep on us with effective imagery and suggestion. The scares here can be portrayed by just using obscure camera angles and bizarre images that unsettle us. Derrickson understands though that using loud bands and noises to jolt the audience can be done effectively. By backing up these moments with his strong imagery he uses it as a tactic to implant these horrific moments in our minds.The highlight however is the use of the 8mm films. Sinister is in love with the idea of film, from celluloid to digital as not only are we treated to disturbing super 8 films but Ellison boasts are large collection of VHS tapes of his old achievements. It's a nice, simple touch that film fans will appreciate. These 8mm films though boast some truly graphic sequences, one particularly involving a garden tool. Backed with a moody soundtrack by Christopher Young who's worked on other horror gems such as "Drag Me To Hell" and "The Exorcism of Emily Rose". It feels more of an ambiance piece rather than a fully diegetic score merging together a series of dark and effective sounds building the feeling of dread constantly throughout.Written by Derrickson himself and writer C. Robert Cargill the screenplay manages for the most part to push past the bland formula we've grown to endure with horror films of late. The film brings an intriguing plot that manages to put you in the position of Ellison's character, uncovering the plot and mystery when he does. There are scenes in which are hero re-visits the 8mm films and discovers new elements to them which adds a new depth to the story. The film feels relentless, rarely taking time to slow down and constantly feeling as though it's propelling towards something. However elements of the script are where the weaker parts of the film shine. While managing to bring interesting uses of horror and tension the film often retreads over clichéd ground as though it's trying to keep a warm attitude towards mainstream audiences. These are the times when the film feels as though it may lose focus but always manages to pick up its feet again. Alongside this we have some underused side and poorly written characters such as a police deputy who doesn't feel natural within the whole scale of things.Sinister may tread over worn ground by it still manages to feel fresh and revitalizing in an age where we've conformed to the degrading standards of horror. It embraces the roots of horror and film in general making it much more than a homage and a feeling of an original yet genuinely terrifying story. Hawk manages to carry the emotional tangent of the narrative while the other characters are merely serviceable. It's not groundbreaking but for a mainstream horror film it takes some inventive and daring steps creating a terrifying, disturbing yet absorbing piece of cinema.4/5 Stars.
This is about as scary as I want to movie to be. I genuinely jumped a few times watching this and once or twice muted the sound. Which makes me laugh writing it, but trust me, there are scenes in this film that challenge the old ticker. A cardboard box in the hallway comes to mind. Those who've seen the film will know what I mean. I particularly liked the use of the found footage in this movie. It was very well integrated into the overall film and extremely disturbing. There is definite potential to make a sequel to this, as the story is set up to have a new chapter. I'd watch it <more>
during the day next time. Highly recommended for jump-scare horror fans.