Sinister 2012 movie review

Written by  Sal Kapoor
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Sinister, a Movie review 2012

Sinister 2012 movie review. Sinister follows Ellison Oswalt, (Ethan Hawke) as a true crime writer as he uproots his family and moves them into a house where the previous inhabitants were brutally murdered. We are pre-warned of events to come as the movie opens with a ritualistic gallows execution of a family. As Oswalt and his family settle into the house, he discovers a box of movie reels, snuff films that provide clues into a series of family executions with one common factor – a surviving child who it turns out not only slays his siblings and parents under the influence of a demon, but films the events too.

From Scott Derikson, the director of the equally frightening The Exorcism of Emily Rose, comes Sinister.

A more appropriate title for Sinister could be TERRIFYING. Following on from a series of films that fit under the umbrella of lost footage, Sinister does remarkably well to deliver scares and shocks despite its reliance on well established genre conventions such as evil children, lost footage, haunted houses and the writer, struggling to keep his sanity in the face of his obsession and crumbling marriage.

Although the film recalls classic horror such as The Shining, The Amityville Horror and The Orphanage, it still holds its own. The performances are convincing with the troubled marriage and the crime writer’s single determination to secure movie rights from his next novel. We learn he has had little success over the past decade and his refusal to resort to bread and butter writing text books for students, has resulted in a hiatus which has seen his whole family, unknowingly, follow him to a haunted house. Here, he hopes to gain the inspiration and success that has eluded him.

The binaries of the Police force are expressed through the deputy, a cop-fan of the writer who assists him in his quest to solve the puzzle of the films. The tough First Blood sergeant who expresses his disdain of Oswalt’s work polarizes this. We learn that in the past, the writer has exposed many procedural faults in how the law has investigated murder cases.

On a deeper level, any study of horror reveals that it secretly expresses our subconscious fears and fantasies. National anxiety is expressed through the fear of the outside invading force and we only feel secure again, once this monster has been neutralized and the family is safe again. Sinister both reinforces and challenges this idea.

The editing, framing and whole set ensemble provides the stage to allow supernatural forces to unveil; starting with Oswalt’s son, who suffers from somnambulism to editing parts of the movies, only to have them reveal a horrible, feral figure, which we learn is a demon named Bagul. The pitch black comedy reveals perhaps, some of the movie’s smartest moments.

Although Sinister wont rank alongside Polanski, Romero or Wes Craven DVD’s on your shelf, Pinstripe wholly suggest it is worth the investment if you like to be terrified.

S Kapoor



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