November 6, 2012

Review: Sinister (2012)

(aka Ethan Hawke vs. Buuthoole)
Release Date: In Theaters now.
Country: USA
Written by: Scott Derrickson and C. Robert Cargill.
Directed by: Scott Derrickson.
Starring: Ethan Hawke, James Ransome, Juliet Rylance, Vincent D'Onofrio and the honorable Fred Dalton Thompson.

October just ain't what it used to be as far as Theatrical Horror  releases go. In recent years we've gotten a new PA or Saw movie as a rule; a few glossy, bigger budget Hollywood productions like The Thing or My Soul to Take; or a few indie flicks along the lines of The Human Centipede or V/H/S that have a tiny limited release, and go mostly unnoticed by most moviegoers. Most of what gets widely released is the bland, repetitive, cookie cutter dreck that is aimed at young girls who will scream at anything, given the chance.

This year, amidst the tired sequels and the even more tired sequels that involve Tyler Perry, we got Sinister. Let it be said here that Sinister was about the only one of this year's October horror crop that truly delivered.

Ethan Hawke is a controversial true-crime author who decides to move he and his family into a house where some grisly murders occurred, all so that he can exploit said grisly murders, and get his name back on the best sellers list. He of course tells his family nothing about the house or what happened there, which makes him kind of a dick.

Ethan Hawke, looking particularly investigative.
While investigating some late night noises in the attic, he finds an old box filled with a bunch of oddly titled Super 8 home videos;  Sleepy Time '98, BBQ '79, Pool Party '66, Lawn Work '86, and Family Hanging Out '11. Those all sound like fun, happy videos, don't they? Well they're not! They're all snuff  films of families being murdered, and each one has a theme.

Again, neither these tapes nor their themes are fun or happy at all.
Soon enough he learns that these murders are all connected to the case he's researching (trying to exploit), and that there may be an ancient demon named Buutthoole behind it all. As he re-watches all of these family snuff films, over and over again (because he's twisted), he starts to see Butthole's face in each of them.

Butthole is everywhere!
When he discovers the connection between all of the tapes, Buuthoole, and himself, Ethan Hawke does the first smart thing he's done all movie long; he decides to move he and his family the hell out of that house! Unfortunately for him, that's when the ghost kids start showing up, and he finds an envelope with a tape marked "Extended Endings." It all goes to hell from there.

I do not trust the children of Butthole. Not one bit.
From the opening moments where we were shown an old Super 8 home movie of a family being hung from a tree, Sinister got its hooks into us, and didn't let go until well after it was over. Sinister was very effective in both story and scare factor, giving us a solid narrative to chew on and a really creepy atmosphere, while going very light on the jump scares and music cues that usually tend to plague Hollywood horror releases.

It was nice for a change to actually see a scary movie in theaters during October that didn't have the words Paranormal  or Activity in its title. What was Hollywood thinking? They gave moviegoers a mature horror flick that was aimed more for the adult crowd than teenyboppers, and it was not only good, but made a hell of a profit for them? Maybe it's the start of a trend!

It's made around $45 million on a $3 million budget thus far, and that's just domestically. That's probably close to 35-40 million in profit (depending on advertising, distribution, etc...), when all is said and done. I've got to imagine that it will do fairly well overseas, and sell well when it hits the home video market, so damn, a good movie made on the cheap that has and will continue to turn a nice profit... Take note, Hollywood execs, it can be done! 

A movie about a guy watching movies so that he can write a book based on said movies, and it worked!
The main issue with Sinister is that the "twist" in the story is telegraphed pretty early on. This is not a movie that depends solely on its plot twist to survive or be effective, but it was still a bit disheartening to have so many clues as to what exactly was going on, so early. It also kind of ruined the fate of our main characters too, as it really could only end one way.It wasn't the worst thing ever, but we just wished it had been a bit less obvious.

She looks happy.
With all of the creepy things that Ethan Hawke's character sees, hears, and that happen in his house late at night, why did he never once turn an 'effing light on? I mean, you're living in a house where some horrendous murders occurred, the killer is still at large, and you're slowly discovering that some creepy demonic cult shit may be involved in your research into the murders, and you examine every odd and out of place noise/occurrence in your house, in the dark? Not buying it.

No light in the attic I can almost buy, but that means no way do I go up there without a gun.
Families being hanged, burned alive, drowned, chopped up, sliced open and having their faces shoved into spinning lawnmower blades... this one has plenty of bloody and disturbing imagery.

Disturbing like this.
Curiosity kills humans too (and not just cats.) Also, Ethan Hawke is not only still alive, but he's apparently still starring in movies. Good for him.

So intense.
How nice to see a Horror flick in theaters that actually manages to be both creepy and well made. Sinister delivered the goods with its minuscule $3 million budget what some movies can't at many times that price. (It's the writing, folks; it's always the writing.)

It's also nice to see that Ethan Hawke still has his acting chops, as he truly does carry this movie essentially all by himself. If it's still playing near you, go check it out. If not, don't miss it when it hits DVD and BD in the next few months.


Sinister is available now on Blu-ray, DVD, and VOD.

Since the Hottie factor of this movie was virtually non-existent, let us instead take a look at some animated GIF's of Sinister, which are still kinda hot in their own way.

1 comment :

  1. Since I saw the end about 50 miles away, this kind of ruined the movie for me. But on its way to the end, it was creepy and Ethan is still doing good actingwise. Although he's not as sexy as he used to be. So, I give it a B-.

    You telling me that they had a budget of only 3 mio. certainly is surprising. For this price, they did magnificiently. Some have proven that a budget of 30 mio. and more could be wasted on a crappy story and ridiulous characters.Yeah, 'Sinister' deserved the love - and the doug.