I’m unsure how he managed to do it, but True-Crime Novelist Ellison (Ethan Hawke) manages to persuade his Wife Tracy (Juliet Rylance) and Children to move into a new Home, hiding just one small detail: a Family was horrifically murdered in the backyard prior, with one Child left unaccounted for. Ellison hopes to solve this Mystery in an upcoming Book, which could well revive his ailing Career as a once-successful Author, finding inspiration and clues within the confines of the Home. Eventually, he gets his wish, locating a Box of Super 8 Film Reels, detailing play-by-play the horrific things that had happened to a handful of brutally-murdered Families. He becomes fixated with one mysterious Being who appears repeatedly for a passing moment in each of these Reels, becoming haunted in his own obsession. We wonder three things through all of this: who is responsible for these gruesome Murders, what happened to the missing Children in each of these Families and most of all, are Ellison and his Family in danger?
Writer/Director Scott Derrickson (The Exorcism of Emily Rose) scares the bejeezus out of us in this latest effort, Sinister and even almost a week after seeing it, I find myself terrified with flashbacks in my mind of scenes from the Film. Much credit must also go to Christopher Young who scores the Film, as no Horror Film truly is without a solid aural component. Young‘s Pieces layered above the Super 8 Footage Scenes in particular, leave a deep impression and paired with perpetually darkly-lit scenes, Sinister truly is an mesmerizing, albeit terrifying experience.
The quiet-of-late Hawke delivers an impeccable performance here, embodying Ellison‘s all-consuming drive to solve this larger-than-life Mystery and also Fame. At once, he projects the tenderness required of him as a distracted Father and Husband with detail. Hawke‘s commitment carries the weight of the Film and despite some obvious logical flaws, Sinister gives us exactly what Horror Fans are hungry for at this time of year.
Alliance Films releases Sinister on October 12, 2012.
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It’s scary, that’s for sure, and definitely has a creepy vibe to it but does get a little silly by the end. Thankfully, Ethan Hawke stays believable the whole time and kept me involved when my mind was telling me otherwise. Good review Will.