Movie Title: Sinister
Director: Scott Derrickson
Date Released: October 12th, 2012
Date Seen: October 14th, 2012
Seen with: Ryan
Part 1 – Spoiler Free Quickie Review
Now let me preface this by saying, I normally don’t like ghost/paranormal/demon/exorcism, etc. type movies. In my mind, they are all stupid. I’ve sen the plot done over and over and over and I can always guess exactly what is going to happen. So I went into this with that same mindset. And yes, I knew the plot… and yes, I knew what was going to happen… and yet I still managed to want to shit myself I was so scared. I even at one point felt like I needed to throw up.
Why was the movie so scary, you ask, if the previews show you half of the murders, and it’s pretty obvious what’s going to happen? I don’t even know. But I was scared. I think it was mostly because of the atmosphere. It doesn’t rely on jump scares (although there are a couple) to keep you terrified. Because it’s not jump after jump after jump like some/most ghost movies, it really keeps you on your toes. It lulls you into this false sense of security and then scares the crap out of you with a jump scare. But in between the two jump scares, there’s just this monumental tension going on. You feel just as insane as the the main character trying to figure out what the hell is going on. We do see a little more than the main character (like sometimes a ghost child behind him), but that just scares you even more.
The acting was decent. Ethan Hawke did a good job of having a confused look on his face all the time… oh wait, that’s not really acting for him now is it….. The kids were all good. One of the most terrifying moments involves the little girl – the look of pure horror on her face in one scene is amazingly done. I hated the character of the wife, I kind of wanted her to shut up 99% of the time. She’d get all mad at her husband for doing things that involved his work – which is investigating old crimes and writing books about them. I mean, I get the yes, keep the kids out of the office so they don’t see gruesome pictures – but dear god she was just annoying as shit. She’d also go back in forth between “I’m totally supporting you on this!” to “Your job is #**@(# stupid”. I hated her. Clearly.
There was a really nice use of colors – and almost backwards of normal ghost movies. The house was dark and dreary, even during the day, the colors in the house were more mute tones. The most colorful things in the movie were the dead kids and the murder scenes on tape. It was just a very strange flip that I really enjoyed. It made one or two of the dead kids look almost cartoonish – but they definitely stood out if they were in the background.
So, again, I am not someone who likes ghost movies because of how stupid and predictable I think they are. This one was predictable, but still managed to make me want to shit myself. So in that sense, I call it a 100% success. Don’t go see it alone. Or at night. Or if you are planning on sleeping the next couple of nights.
Part 2 – In-Depth Spoiler Ridden Review/Synopsis
There’s a decent plot synopsis here. But pretty much, you know the plot. There is a demon, Baguuhl, that is a Pagan god that supposedly eats the souls of human children. It lives in the images that portray it – and so, not many images exist, because the Pagans destroyed as many as they could find. The tapes in the attic, found by Ellison (Ethan Hawke), are some tapes of murders of old families. We come to find out, through the course of the movie, that each family that died lived in a previous murder victims house. So Family 2 lived in the house that Family 1 died in… then they moved, and died. Family 3 lived in the house Family 2 died in, then moved, and died. Etc. You get the picture. The trailers showed you most of the murders, the hanging on the tree, the pool drowning, the car being torched, and maybe the throat being slit one. But the most disturbing tape you don’t see. The most disturbing tape is someone starting up a lawn mower by the garage… and you simply watch the lawn mower being slowly pushed along a path – then onto the grass – and then you see a person (I looked away too fast to see if it was an adult or child) about to be run over. The pushing of the lawn mower is so slow and the scene is so long that by the time the person is shown you have already shit yourself. So anyway, in each murder, the whole family was killed except for one child that was never found again. No body, no nothing.
So anyway, back to my horrible synopsis – weird shit starts happening – the scariest scene is very reminiscent of “The Orphanage”, a Spanish ghost flick. Ellison is walking around the house, and the dead kids are kind of playing hide and seek with him (without him knowing it). Finally Ellison decides that they need to move (because he is dumb and didn’t make the moving-house connection). They move out of the house, into a new house, and then one night as Ellison drinks his tea, all happy that nothing weird is happening – he finds the same box from the old house (that he burned) in his new attic. This time, there is an “extended cut” of each of the tapes. The tapes show that the missing child was the one doing all the murders. Oh shit. About that time, Ellison passes out from his drugged tea, and then we see his daughter come outwith a video camera and an axe – and she kills her family, paints the walls with their blood, and then is taken into the film by Baguuhl.
So yep, it’s a demon child thing. I got the moving-house thing after they mentioned it once, so I don’t know why Ellison didn’t check that shit out. And also, in the first house they made a big deal about the kids not going into the dad’s office, and locking the door. The second house office seemed to be in a big open room with no doors. Whatever.
I love that the movie scared the crap out of me without too many jump scares, without gore, and just relied mostly on the atmosphere. That made it better. I still only give it 7/10 because we know the plot, we know what happens, and it’s easy to guess. But I still did really like it.