Friday, October 26, 2012

Freaky Friday: Sinister

Whoa. No, really, whoa. Sinister is a prime example of why horror movies should be rated R, instead of PG-13. I'm not an advocate of bumping up the rating to increase the gore factor. Although I'm not opposed to it when done well with movies like the Saw series and to a lesser extent, Hostel (first one only). But horror needs the R rating when it is as creepy as this film. Some images are definitely not for kids' eyes, but it has more to do with how those images are completely and utterly disturbing, more than gore-filled by today's horror standards.
At first, hubs and I planned to pass on this flick, since Ethan Hawke is not our favorite actor. But cousin and Twitterville convinced us it was a must see. So Hawke reservations aside, off we went. And I've got to give the man credit, he did a great job playing Ellison Oswalt--a strung out, megalomaniac and former bestselling author desperate to be in the limelight once more. (Side note: Why are all writers in film shown to be neurotic lunatics with a drinking problem? Wait. Don't answer that.)
This work is in the public domain because it was published in the United States between 1923 and 1963 and although there may or may not have been a copyright notice, the copyright was not renewed.
Write drunk; edit sober.” ― Ernest Hemingway
Unbeknownst to his wife and two children, Oswalt moves his family into the home previously belonging to murder victims. The former family of four were hung from a tree in the backyard and the youngest daughter was never found. If this isn't cause for divorce, I don't know what is. Now, as a true crime writer, he is pretty high on the local sheriff's do-no-send-holiday-card list. But he befriends an eager young deputy, who he so lovingly calls "Deputy So-and-So" into helping him unlock the mystery of the crime.
Unfortunately for Oswalt, he discovers a box in the attic of old 8mm footage dating back to the 1960s. Turns out the films are the killer's calling card, depicting decades worth of murders. Instead of cluing in old Deputy So-and-So, Oswalt--in what could easily have been a choice that led to the film ending within ten minutes--decides NOT to call the police. Yes, let that rattle around your brain for a second or so. He is so obsessed with his book, he would rather keep the footage to himself and try to solve serial killer murders spanning sixty years, than protect his family and other potential innocent victims. And the world of writers everywhere wept.
Despite the questionable picture of an author painted by Sinister, it is a killer--pun intended--film. SPOILER ALERT: I would have preferred a real life threat to the paranormal Woman in Black style killer, but otherwise, I'm satisfied. From the haunting images that I promise will stick with you for a long time to Oswalt's psychotic obsession and the innocent family caught in the middle, this movie has everything you could want.

Rating: A all the way.

How do you feel about the gore factor in horror flicks? What scares you more, graphic images or a disturbing psychological  atmosphere?


  1. I used to write drunk. When I chose to stop drinking, I had to redefine my writing routine. I'm a much better writer sober, btw. Sinister looks scary as hell, so I won't be seeing it. Ghosty things seem to stick in my subconscious longer than is healthy, so if I want to be able to sleep, I avoid these things. I am fascinated, though.

  2. Disturbing psychological all the way for me! I've been wondering about this one. Sounds like I need to see it!

  3. Can't wait to see this one! Thanks for the review! :D