I am a big fan of scary movies, but lately there have been a lot of duds (ie. see my review for “The Apparition”). The plots seem so bland and the “scares” are over produced. Horror movie writers/directors have moved from a simple ghost story to creating this world of overused gore. So I should clarify myself; I am a big fan of gore/torture-free horror movies. Enter “Sinister”. After watching the trailer, I had really high hopes. And it definitely did not disappoint. I should preface this review by stating that I brought my “I hate horror movies” fiance to the screening, and he left saying that it is his favorite horror movie that he’s ever seen. Although it isn’t my favorite, it is definitely up high on the list of most frightening movies I’ve ever seen (and I have definitely seen my fair share of them). The story is about a true crime novelist (Ethan Hawke) who moves his family into a house where grisly murders had recently occurred. Without giving too much away, he is writing a book about the aforementioned murders and is trying to solve a mystery associated with the crime. In doing so, he uncovers a decades long thriller that begins to consume his life.
The movie is a very clever take on the “found footage” phenomenon that has seemed to overtake the horror movie business. I have to admit, I’m a huge fan of those movies though. I loved Paranormal Activity, Blair Witch Project, etc. because there is an added fear while watching that what you are seeing is portrayed as a true story that could happen to you. Hawke finds various 8mm home movies in the attic that display horrible murders by an unknown assailant. The audience has to watch multiple people die mortifying deaths. And yes I was in the audience with my hands clasping my mouth in horror the entire time. The movie also had one of the most effective musical scores I had ever encountered in a horror movie. The little snippets of odd music during the home videos really climatized the horror that should be felt while watching something like this. These “videos” are done so well that after the movie was over, I remember saying to myself that it was one of the most disturbing horror movies I had seen. Not “disturbing” in a way that I felt morally violated, but “disturbing” in a way that the writers did their job very well in creating a great scary movie.
I believe this is a movie for the masses. Whether you enjoy horror movies as much as I do, or are usually a little reluctant with them, I’d say give it a try. It exudes the theme of old school horror with not needing 200 gallons of fake blood to portray a great scary story. With this being Halloweentime, it’s a great start to a scary season!