When I have discussions with people about great modern horror films, the likes of Annabelle and The Conjuring or Insidious always come up. But why does no one mention Sinister? Did the sequel just put a bad taste in everyone’s mouth? Or did this film just fly under the radar? Well, today I want to write a bit about why I think Sinister should be considered as one of the better horror films of recent history.
This story is both unique and terrifying. For those of you that have not seen Sinister, it is the story of a true crime writer, Ellison Oswalt (Ethan Hawke) who hasn’t had a bestseller in over 10 years. Packing up his wife and children, Ellison moves his family into the house where a horrific murder took place. Trying to solve the murder for his new book, Ellison discovers several tapes depicting the murder of families dating back to the 1960s. As Ellison continues to watch the snuff films, the more he notices a strange figure. Now Ellison must figure out who, or what, this figure is and ensure that his family is not next.
I adore Ethan Hawke. I think he is an incredible actor, even in films I’m not crazy about (like the first Purge movie – I hated that movie with a passion). His skill definitely translates in this film. He perfectly portrays the likes of a crime writer, struggling to recapture his audience – as well as feed his family with the tale of the next horrific murder.
One of the most important elements of a good horror film is the demon (or ghost, or presence or whatever that particular film is about) and Sinister just nails it. Sometimes you get films where the ghost isn’t shown nearly enough to be scary – Paranormal Activity – or a film where they are shown entirely too much, but Sinister has managed a very happy medium. You get enough glimpses of him to know he’s there and what he wants but not too much for it to become cheesy. This demon, Bughuul, is truly terrifying in this movie, although when you require the sacrifice of children I think that might be a prerequisite.
Sinister was very well written and contains direction, which is something many modern horror films lack. It is unfortunate that the momentum couldn’t be maintained with the sequel but I really didn’t think a sequel was necessary to begin with.
Have you seen Sinister? What are some of your thoughts on the film? Let us know!
Watch or stream Sinister on Amazon here: Sinister