The past seven days

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Sinister - Review

Sinister tells the story of a true crime novelist who is trying to revive his career by moving into a house where a horrific crime took place. In his pursuit of the truth, for the sake of his book, he uncovers secrets and legends that not only uncover why the crime took place but also puts his family in danger.

I had intended to see Sinister when it was in theaters, but I never really got around to it. When I heard it was going to be on DVD I immediately added it to my rental queue and I am happy to say this was not a wasted rental. I really enjoyed Sinister. I thought the plot was great, the imagery and cinematography was beautiful and haunting, and the acting really wasn't too shabby. There were things I didn't quite get but overall I was happy.

Starting off with what I did like is the plot. Without giving too much away I thought it was well executed. Portraying Ethan Hawke to be this novelist who is dragging his family from place to place trying to recreate previous success he had was a good setup. He lies to his family and doesn't tell them they are moving into a house where a family was murdered and the secrecy adds to his stress and nervousness when he begins to discover evidence and information about the crime scene. I loved it.
I also loved the imagery. I thought the home movies, or found-footage, that were in the attic were very creepy looking but it was one of those can't look away scenarios. Each one started with normal, family footage and ended with something terrible which was great. The movies were old fashioned, grainy, and had a very eerie vibe to them. Kudos to the cinematography, for sure.

Some stuff I didn't like mostly lies with the sound and what I thought was an overuse of music. This mostly has to do with the home movies. Each movie had a different tune to them and while they were creepy little tunes I felt they were a bit unnecessary. I think the movies would have been more effective and creepier if they were played in silence only with the noise of the film projector and the outside noise of the house. That is how I would have done it.
It also fell victim to my main gripe with current horror films which is the overuse of jump scares and loud, sudden sound cues. I hate this with a passion and it's not because I fall for them. I never fall for them but I find them annoying and the only reason people are getting scared is because they get the adrenaline rush when they are startled. They aren't scared by the actual material and that is where horror is failing right now. People need to start relying on the material and not on sound and visual tricks. I thought the movie itself was creepy enough to stick with the audience, but apparently they didn't.
It also was hard for me to take Beguul (aka, Mr. Boogie) seriously due to the fact that he looks like a member of Slipknot, but that isn't anything major.

Apart from that I do want to reiterate that I did like Sinister despite the faults. Oddly enough I think the faults showed that they were insecure of the film and didn't think it was scary enough on its own. It also adds elements of two different genres that meshed quite well. At times I couldn't decide whether I was watching a crime thriller or a horror movie. That added to the overall suspense, though. Not a bad movie. Probably one of the better horror movies I have seen in recent years.

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