Day Seven: Sinister

Happy Halloween Countdown


Oh, how I love it when I am right.   From my little soap box on the interwebs, I’ve been haranguing Hollywood –Universal in particular – to stop making (or remaking) monster movies with big stars, over-the-top effects and bloated budgets in quest for a blockbuster.  It’s a recipe for failure.  Instead of putting all your monster eggs in one bucket of blood, make several smaller quality films.  The risk is spread out and the profits are bigger.   The proof, as they say, is in the pudding  . . . and now for the pudding.

The production team behind Insidious is back with Sinister, showing once again that a small budget and an unimaginative title are no impediment to making a profitable quality horror film.

Ethan Hawke, looking more Kevin Bacony than usual, plays Ellison Oswalt, a writer who scored one critically acclaimed true-crime bestseller years ago and hasn’t been able pen another hit since.  In dire financial straits he moves his family to a less expensive home in a another town, not only to save money but also research his next true-crime book, a book about the family that was murdered in that very house.  While poking around in the attic, he finds a box of disturbing Super 8 home movies.  Viewing them takes his investigation to a very dark place.

Sinister shares quite a bit with Insidious.  They’re both  similarly paced with the same kinds of scares, the same kind of feel.  Sinister, by its nature, is a little more of mystery film than Insidious.   As Oswalt uncovers the truth behind the box of drolly labeled Super 8 home movies and how they relate to the crime he is researching, the tension mounts, and the horror reveals itself.  There are some chilling and effective moments here.

I have only two minor complaints. The sound design gets a little heavy-handed at times– the movie screams “This is scary!”   It’s not needed.  The film’s scares would work just fine without the sound calling attention to it.  Lastly, Sinister goes into unneeded exposition to remind you of things that have already been revealed.

Sinister, like its cousin Insidious is a solid film with several frightening moments.  It has a solid cast, good effects and is an all around professionally-made quality film.


Ethan Hawke
Juliet Rylance
James Ransone
Vincent D’Onofrio


Scott Derrickson


C. Robert Cargill


Three of five Vincents

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.