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'Sinister' a credit to the horror genre

By Zach Lederman
On October 15, 2012

In the immortal words of George Oscar Bluth, "I've made a huge mistake." That's exactly how I felt coming out of "Sinister" this past Saturday night. Not because the movie was bad, but because I could already tell it was going to haunt me for weeks.
"Sinister," which was released on Oct. 12 starring Ethan Hawke, tells the tale of Ellison Oswalt, a true-crime author looking for his next big hit after a series of failures. After moving to a new town with his family to document an unsolved mass murder, he finds a box of film reels, each depicting a series of grisly, unsolved murders. Pressured by financial woes, he decides to take it upon himself to solve the murders. Aided only by a local police officer, he watches the horrid home movies and becomes further entangled in the web of violence.
In my preview of the movie, I remarked that it would have even the most seasoned horror movie veterans shaking in their boots, and as something of a veteran myself, I sure as hell hit the nail on the head. However, to say that the movie is terrifying isn't entirely correct. As far as scares go, the movie has plenty, and it is frightening, but I wouldn't call it scary. It doesn't rely on something jumping out at the viewer to be fearsome. I would rather describe it as more disturbing than anything else. For example, the film reels, although being quite short and not very graphic, are some of the most frightening scenes I've ever had the opportunity to watch in a horror movie.
But, all this being said, the film does stand up reasonably well to any criticism thrown at it. Yes, it doesn't have the most original plot ever written, and some of the intended scares are a bit cheesy-looking, but while most modern horror flicks are relying more and more on gore, frightening imagery, and foregoing story development, "Sinister" presents itself first and foremost as a story and really does present the audience with a solid, interesting tale that ties up all loose ends by the end.
For anybody looking for his or her yearly scary movie, this is probably going to be the one you want to see, other than "Paranormal Activity 4." If you plan to watch it, bring a friend, and make sure you're absolutely confident that you can handle the film. It brings a new form of terror to the silver screen that's guaranteed to leave you shivering long after the movie is over. Just make sure that you have someone in your room when you go to sleep, or the darkness is going to seem a lot more sinister than it usually does.
7/10
 


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