Oct 26, 2013

Day 26: Sinister (2012)

Can a once-prolific blogger who hasn't written 31 posts all year find it in his soul to review 31 previously unseen horror films in 31 days of October? Let's find out...

I feel a little like Randal from Clerks at this point in the month. Tired of all the crappy offerings at my own video store (aka HBO Go, Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant). "I work in a shitty video store! I wanna go to a good video store so I can get a good movie!" That's how I feel. So I've resorted to possibly paying for my movies for these last five days of the month. Tonight, rented in HD from Amazon Instant, we have last year's Sinister. A film I've heard good things about. Fingers and other body parts crossed...

LOVED the pre-title card scene. Some ghostly Super-8 footage of ghostly shenanigans involving a family of four getting hung from an old tree. Very well done. Flash-forward to the present, we see a new family moving into the home of the murdered family. The new family consisting of a disgraced crime writer with his wife and two kids. Senator Fred Thompson, playing the local sheriff, stops by to be all disapproving Fred Thompson on the writer's ass. The small town doesn't need any further publicity about those old murders. Whatever.

And we find out that his wife has no idea about the home's past. Apparently, he has moved his family in the past to houses a few doors down from other crime scenes. She asks if he has done it again (you would think she would ask BEFORE moving), and he replies that he hasn't. Technically true...they aren't a few houses away from a crime scene. This is most definitely a bad idea.

The writer, a Speaker for the Dead (look it up), has found a box of old Super-8 films in the attic. Murdered families doing murdered family things. A handful of families going back decades. They include the scene we saw before the title-card of the family being hung. And there is something...sinister about them. Too soon? We discover that the writer wants to find out the whereabouts of the missing fifth member of the murdered family. A 10-year old girl named Stephanie. That's what his book is going to be about.

Lots of creepy shit happens. The writer's daughter is an aspiring artist and she begins to draw creepy shit. The writer's son starts experiencing night-terrors right after moving into the house. Night-terrors about creepy shit. That first one is crazy as fuck too! Great scene. And then there are those films. Just filled to the brim with creepy shit. All seemingly normal family stuff at first. Then they turn into the stuff of nightmares straight outta Hell. A man could go insane seeing evil like that.

A half-hour in, it feels a whole lot like an update of The Shining. Alcoholic disgraced writer father, unsuspecting mother, kids with "gifts", an evil house and/or presence. It has all the earmarks. Jack Torrance had his typewriter, this guy has his MacBook Pro with all kinds of film editing tools. Is he going mad, or is there real evil afoot?

The film was genuinely frightening at times. And the mythology behind the story was pretty cool. Things are ramping up here toward the end of the month. Do it to it.

Verdant Dude rating: 3.5 out of 5 pumpkins (honestly this time)


MARTIN said...

I wasn't too impressed by Sinister, especially considering the good things I had heard beforehand. I thought Ethan Hawke's character was just too idiotic and ego-obsessed to root for. He really did make some very stupid decisions. The scene with his son popping out of that box was definitely a highlight though!

Verdant Earl said...

Martin - Hawke's character was terrible. I tried to let it slide by assuming that he was going crazy from everything going on, but he was awful.

Waterlogged Canine said...

Now that the cat's out of the bag...er...um...I mean the son's out of the box, that scene scared the hairy balls off me. So hairy...I mean scary. The scene. Definitely, talking about the scene.

Verdant Earl said...

Doggie - Same here, except I mean hairy. And not talking about the scene.