Last week I was gearing up for the release of a promising new movie with Guillermo del Toro’s name attached: Mama. Unfortunately, it disappointed me, leaving me to wonder where I might find a horror movie that wouldn’t. I ended up watching 2012’s Sinister and was pleasantly surprised.
The movie is about a true crime writer who envelops himself in his work to the degree that he moves his unknowing family to the scene of a recent murder, where someone hanged a family and kidnapped the sole surviving child. The writer, played by Ethan Hawke, discovers an old projector and several reels of disturbing home movies in which families are murdered in different ways.
After viewing the movies, which prove quite sinister indeed, we viewers are left with two questions: 1. Who filmed these movies? and 2. Who is the demonic figure that appears in the background of all the killings?
Something about this movie struck me as Stephen King-esque: perhaps the cynical writer who has a strained relationship with his wife and children, or the strange, eclectic soundtrack that reminded me of The Shining. But it had its own unique flavor as well, using the “found footage” trope to bloodcurdling success (the image of the family hanging on the tree is particularly eerie). I also got hints of The Ring from the movie. Funny enough, it turns out writer C. Robert Cargill’s inspiration for Sinister came from a nightmare he had after watching The Ring. In the nightmare, he discovers a film in his attic of a family being hanged.
One of the best horror films of 2012. If you haven’t seen it yet, give yourself a spooky treat and get a copy of Sinister when it comes out on DVD on February 19th!
Plot: 9 out of 10 super-8 snuff films
Acting: 8 out of 10 super-8 snuff films
Visuals: 9 out of 10 super-8 snuff films
Music: 6.5 out of 10 super-8 snuff films
Scare factor: 8 out of 10 super-8 snuff films
Overall: 8 out of 10 super-8 snuff films