Movie Reviews 229 – Sinister (2012)

SinisterBlending a mix of haunted house, serial murder mystery with a touch of out of this world mysticism, Sinister serves one of those oh so rare movies that actually delivers something new and yes, sinister, to even the most jaded of horror fans.

A writer who researches actual savage murder mysteries is once again looking for that one big bestseller to replenish his fortunes. His latest project has him renting out the home where the crime took place, a house where all but the youngest family member were hung at the same time from a tree branch in the back yard. Moving in he discovers a lone box in the attic with 8mm home movies and a projector. Playing the films he finds that they are surreptitious recordings of the family before the grisly murders with the end end of the reel being with a recording of the actual event from the perspective of the perpetrator. There are a few tapes in the box and each contains the demise of a different family. Each family is murdered using a different, although just as morbid manner of group death. A bit of research uncovers the fact that in each case the youngest child in the family were never to be found and are presumed to died as well. But the children’s bodies are never found.

The terror is slickly layered with a few red herring leads but always becoming all the more mysterious as the facts unravel. But it’s the double whammy ending that delivers the shivers as all the pieces fall into place and the true extent of the horror is uncovered.

It’s nice to see Ethan Hawke get a decent role for a change and he makes the best of it here as writer Ellison Oswalt. He has to juggle his own insecurities as a writer while trying to keep his family together all while trying to compete with his own past. There are a few other nice touches like the police chief that would rather see Ellison just leave well enough alone while one of his junior officers, much to the chief’s consternation, adores the writer and secretly becomes embroiled in the investigation.

I was impressed enough that I now have to sit down watch director Scott Derrickson’s earlier The Exorcism of Emily Rose. While not directed by Derrickson, Sinister II is about to hit theaters. I’ll be crossing my fingers for that one, but I’m sure the movie will once again have other body parts being crossed.

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