This movie is about as scary as too much Vegemite in your sandwich

Featuring

Ethan Hawke as Ellison Oswalt
Juliet Rylance as Tracy Oswalt
Michael Hall D’Addario and Clare Foley as Trevor and Ashley Oswalt
Fred Thompson as the Sheriff
James Ransone as Deputy So-and-so
with Vincent D’Onofrio as Prof. Jonas

Another horror movie franchise begins, with yet another campy Hollywood horror movie that scares nobody but the most jumpy. Sinister attempts to offer that creepy, properly scary feeling many Asian horror movies elicit from audiences, but falls well short, because at the end of the day, the movie just doesn’t offer enough frightening moments.

The banally stupid story begins when Ellison Oswalt and his family move into a new house. Trouble is, they’re intercepted by the local Sheriff, who’s none too pleased with his presence. You see, Ellison is a true crime writer, whose first hit book killed off the prosecution’s case in a murder some years back. Many police precincts are naturally cautious of him, some downright hostile, and these officers are no different.

Anyway, Ellison is on the hunt for another true crime hit, this time investigating the murders of four members of a family by hanging, and the kidnapping of the fifth, a little girl. Intelligently, Ellison has decided that they’ll move into the murder house and keep this fact a secret from his family. Smart move, boy, smart move. This will definitely end well. Anyway, as the family completes the moving in process, Ellison finds a box in the attic labelled family videos, along with a film projector. He grabs the box and settles down to do his research and write his book about the murders.

Intelligently, Ellison has decided that they’ll move into the murder house and keep this fact a secret from his family.

Unfortunately, the family videos are…a little more disturbing than their innocuous names suggest. The videos depict not only the murders of the family which he is in the process of investigating, but also other murders shot in 8mm film. Upon further investigation, he discovers that these videos are all of the same thing, a family is murdered, but one of their children always goes missing, usually the youngest. In one of the videos, Ellison sees a strange figure watching the proceedings, and upon closer examination finds this figure in most of the videos as well. Pretty freaky!

It gets more freaky, as the strange figure, who turns out to be some sort of Babylonian pagan deity begins to sink his claws into the Oswalt, unbeknownest to Ellison. His investigation into the murders by watching the macabre home movies is actually the trigger for it. This kind of story can only end in one of two ways: everyone dies, or everyone lives. I’ll let you find out if you’re interested.

In any case, Sinister is an attempted horror movie that’s not scary. It’s full of creeping suspense, followed by…more creeping suspense. Unfortunately, this means that, out of the entire 109 minute runtime, there are about three actual attempts to get you out of your seat and screaming. That’s just not enough. At least when there’s creeping suspense, allow the audience to let out the tension. Instead, it keeps trying to build the tension and then it runs out of puff. Sad really. There was so much potential.

Check out the trailer

Rating

As disappointing as finding out that your sole sandwich filling is Vegemite (or Marmite, if you’re British)

Should I watch this?

If you’re a horror novice and don’t like jump scares, this is probably not a bad introduction. Otherwise, there are a truck load of other scary movies to choose from.

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