I’ve only recently (meaning within the past 2-3 years or so) gotten interested in the scary/horror/thriller genre of film; since then, I’ve seen plenty of bad scary movies…making a good one is tricky. Every once in a while, though, a great one will pop up. Sinister, starring Ethan Hawke, is a scary film that rises above cheap tricks to make you jump and offers real substance that has the capability of making you quake in your seats with terror.
Sinister is smart in relying on both what you do and don’t see to cause fright. We see disturbing images on old film reels that almost cause a sickness to the stomach: who would do such a twisted thing as this? Who would treat people this way? But with the introduction of the terrifying deity Bughuul, the terror is found in what we don’t see; we know that this creature is out doing these things somewhere, and we know he’s nearby, but we don’t know when he will show up again.
Perhaps the best part about Sinister is the ending. We reach a point where Hawke’s character realizes, “Oh no…what I’ve done has only brought this on myself and there’s nothing I can do to stop it anymore.” It’s his hopelessness and the realization of his situation that causes the most chilling moment of the film: when his own daughter drugs him and kills the whole family.
Overall, Sinister is a film that manages to scare without insulting its audience. Ethan Hawke does a fine job in the lead; we as the audience feel more and more anticipation as he discovers more and more of exactly what’s going on. The script is decent, the old film reels are spine-chilling, and we find in Bughuul a creature to truly be terrified of.
Rating: 3 (out of 5)
MPAA: R – for disturbing violent images and some terror