Sinister is a victim of poor timing. Released between the similarly titled Insidious, and the blockbuster The Conjuring, it was somewhat eclipsed and i was surprised that it didn’t receive more attention. Of course, I saw it on opening weekend, and was shocked to find the screening room empty aside from myself. Recently I watched the film again with some close friends, and gained a new perspective on the film. The plot concerns an infamous true crime writer who is searching for his next hit. His glory days are behind him and he has two very toxic habits, moving to the sights of Grisly murders and upsetting the community by dredging up painful memories and pissing off local law enforcement, and also dragging his family along with him and putting them under tremendous strain. Having moved into a new Murder House, Ellison Oswalt begins researching the Murder of the family who previously lived in the home. While unpacking, he stumbles across a box of Super 8 films in the attic which turn out to be films of the murders, as well as other murders from different locations. The deeper he delves into the mystery, the more he learns he may be wrapped up in something…SINISTER! (Fuck it, I had to)
In Sinister we see a profoundly selfish man who puts his family in jeopardy for the sake of his own glory, despite telling himself and his ever-suffering wife that it is so that he can tell the stories of the dead. Vanity disguised as Nobility. When the creep factor begins to ramp up, and strange occurences happen around the house, everything seems alien and strange to Ellison…why wouldn’t it? He just moved in and isn’t familiar with his new house yet. I thought it was a nice touch, making him look lost in his own home. The use of the Super * home movies was quite possibly the best use of Found Footage I have seen in quite some time. It plays into the plot without wearing out it’s welcome.
The film itself is more creepy than scary…but it is VERY creepy! Watching the film in an almost empty screening room was an unsettling experience. You wouldn’t believe the shadows that are cast in that setting. Watching it with friends was another unique experience, as i got to watch their fear build and grow. Watching in a group, i noticed that some of my friends felt compelled to voice some of their reaction to plot holes. “WTF? The killer has access to his house! Has been there since he’s moved in! WHY IS HE STILL THERE?!?” Admittedly some of the plot holes did become a bit of an elephant in the room. Regardless, this is still a very strong film with very enduring creep power. It might have been overlooked on it’s initial release, but i predict this film will find it’s audience by acting as a jumping on point for new horror fans. I can easily see younger kids watching this movie and it scarring them for life 🙂