Sunday, September 6, 2015

Sinister (2012) - Recap and Review

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Sinister remains one of the best horror movie I have watched. The emphasis on the word “horror is because most movies that are supposed to be a horror movie tend more to be torture porn nowadays.

The plot goes like this: Ellison Oswalt (Ethan Hawke) is a True crime writer, who is coasting on his past glories. He yearns to return to the public eye by churning out another bestseller. Ellison moves in to a new town to write his latest book about a murder of a family.

Oswalt's family consists of his wife, Tracy (Juliet Rylance) and their children, Ashley (Clare Foley) and Trevor (Michael Hall D'Addario). Ashley likes to paint on the walls and Trevor suffers from nightmares.

The local Sheriff (Fred Dalton Thompson) is not a fan of Ellison's works. He also does not approve of the fact that the writer has moved into the very house, where the murders took place. Ellison has hidden this fact from his family members.

Soon, things start to unravel at the Oswalts. Trevor starts to have nightmares quickly. Ashley is drawing very macabre paintings on her wall. Ellison himself starts losing his mind, as the brutality of the murder he watches in the Super 8 mm films starts to overwhelm his senses.


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The only person to show some kind of understanding for Ellison's current predicament is Deputy So and So (James Ransone). After coming face to face with Mr. Boogie himself, Ellison decides to pack up things and leaves the house right away with his family.

This is where the movie shines. Usually in haunted movies, we tend to ask the question: Why don't they just move out of the house and be done with it. This movie, scripted by Scott Derrickson and C. Robert Cargill, addresses this significant question.

Scott, who also directed the movie, deserves credit for delivering one of the best horror movies in a long time. The cinematography by Chris Norr and the music by Christopher Young add immensely to the atmosphere. Christopher's work especially merits mention and is probably the most influential aspect of the movie, even eclipsing Ethan Hawke's acting and Scott's direction.

The acting is pretty solid, considering that this is a horror movie. Ethan is an ace at playing this kind of every man role and this movie is no exception. He receives able support from Juliet Rylance and Clare Foley as the hapless family members. 


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But the best casting decisions are reserved for the supporting roles. There are three supporting characters and all of them have been cast exceptionally well. 

In addition to the aforementioned Deputy So and So (James Ransone) and the Sheriff (Fred Dalton Thompson), there is Vincent D'Onofrio in a very brief role as Professor Jonas. Jonas is an occult expert and has a couple of scenes, in which he explains about Bughuul to Ethan Hawke's character.

It is quite telling that Vincent has a far better screen presence and leaves quite an impression, despite having just about five minutes of screentime. Compare this with Henry Cavill, who gets to carry an entire movie by himself and still manages to leave zero impression.


James Ransone provides most of the lighter moments in the otherwise grim film. He also shares an excellent chemistry with Ethan, especially in the scene where he requests to be included in Oswalt's upcoming book.

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Same goes for Fred Dalton Thompson as the Sheriff. His early encounter with Oswalt boasts of some sharp dialogues and the actors pull it off with great aplomb.

Last but not the least, the villain himself, Bughuul / Mr. Boogie (Nicholas King). Bughuul is one of the most memorable horror movie villains. The director deserves credit for making him a truly scary and creepy character.

This is a movie that fires on all cylinders and is highly recommended to fans of the horror movies.

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Image Sources: Alliance Films, IM Global, Blumhouse Productions, Automatik Entertainment (as Automatik), Possessed Pictures 

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