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“Sinister” – Early Review (POSITIVE)

October 3, 2012

“The Cabin in the Woods” was considered by many, including myself, the epitome of the horror movie genre, from here on out you will not be able to look at another horror film relatively the same way again. Having said that, writer/director Scott Derrickson, has boldly taken the supernatural genre to whole new level of creepy and menacing.

Crime novelist, Ellison Oswalt (Ethan Hawke), moves his family into a house that has become known for something quite daunting over the years. Oswalt finds old home movie reels that delve into the past regarding how an innocent family can suddenly be slaughtered by the lambs. A symbol reoccurs throughout the films, praising a deity known as Bughuul (or Mr. Boogie to some). Bughuul inhabits his victims in horrendous ways, but more importantly his draw to children is what gives him strength. The problem is, once you’ve made contact with this entity, there’s no way to escape the awful power and unfortunate demise.

[Scott] Derrickson’s last foray into horror was the 2005 hit “The Exorcism of Emily Rose”, overrated in my opinion, but I digress. His last movie in general was the bomb of a remake that is “The Day the Earth Stood Still”, he became such a forgettable director, that I really thought nothing of him before I saw “Sinister”, after seeing this film; I wondered where was all this talent hidden. To a certain extent, “Emily Rose” does ground itself in the realism aspect that made the movie so terrifying, I can respect that, and from that, he seems to reapply that notion (more or less) here. “Sinister” has an approach that focuses more on the creative shadow and sound play to build its intense scares rather than full on gore. Sure, there are violent images in this film, but that’s not how a horror movie builds its intensity. I guess, there’s something about children that make a horror film extra creepy.

Ethan Hawke has been keeping himself on the down low lately, briefly appearing here and there in indie/mainstream films, but in my honest opinion his recent best work is in this film. Ok, maybe his characters chemistry with the wife isn’t 100% on the nose, but besides that, I really dug Hawke in this film. He’s underrated actor, I don’t think people really appreciate him as an actor, in fact, if anyone here has Netflix instant, add “Tape” to your que, you’ll see what I’m talking about. Vincent D’Onofrio makes an honorable cameo as professor whose knowledge of the deity is quite apparent. The kids are perfect in their roles, and will add to the extra level of creepiness, like I said, kids in horror films just makes more sense for disturbing atmosphere.

The ending I feel will be the biggest discussion, and in most cases for a horror film it usually easy, can anyone say “Cabin in the Woods”? Overall, “Sinister” works, because it doesn’t take itself too seriously to the point where it’s self aware, but it does take the subject matter to a serious place that will likely scare the shit out of anyone’s underpants.

GRADE: A-

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