Sinister is a 2012 horror/thriller from the director of Hellraiser Inferno and The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Scott Derrickson.
The film tells the story of true crime writer Ellison Oswalt (Ethan Hawke) who is desperately trying to find inspiration to finish his latest book as it has been over ten years since his last. Money is tight so to try and force his book along, he (of course) moves his family into the house which was the scene of the murder he is writing about much to the displeasure of his wife Tracy (Juliet Rylance) when she finds out later in the film.
Not long after moving there, as you would expect, unexplainable things start happening and eventually, while investigating one of these bumps in the night, Ellison happens across a box containing a collection of 8mm film which he watches and which in turn open up the possibility of a whole collection of murders all linked to the one he is writing about.
Further investigation by Ellison into the connected murders along with assistance from a local deputy played by James Ransome pull Ellison and his family deeper and deeper into a creepy world of snuff films, child death and demons leaving them all in grave danger and you wondering who, if anyone, is going to survive.
Ethan Hawke is particularly good playing the egotistical, heavy drinking and generally unlovable author almost faultlessly and the film is helped along by a very good sound track by Christopher Young which perfectly adds tension and suspense. There are no real problems with any of the other stars of the film but it is very much the Ellison Oswalt story so their screen time is limited.
There are, however, some really annoying errors within the film though. The worst of these is Tracy’s ability to sleep through absolutely everything, even sleeping through the sound of her husband shouting as he crashes through the hallway ceiling from the loft outside the bedroom door. This happened frequently through the film and the only time she did seem to wake up during the night time happenings was when there was a noise 100 metres away in the garden.
There is also one particular scene in the movie that I thought was cringe worthy and while I know plenty of people who disagree, I personally thought the image of Ellison wandering around his house by torchlight seeing nothing while the viewer can see the images of ghostly children prancing around the house and around him like mental pixies was just a little silly.
This is a decent movie which is well acted by Ethan Hawke in particular and wasn’t even entirely predictable like so many “ghost stories” can be. Interesting story, great soundtrack and even the odd fright albeit of the jumpy type makes this a film worth a watch but that won’t leave too long of a lasting impression.