“Sinister” is true horror at its finest. Its depiction of grisly murders and haunting, demonic presences consistently chills and thrills, creating anxiety and suspense about what skin–crawling terrors await you in the next scene. The film centers on Ellison Oswald, portrayed by Ethan Hawke, a true-crime writer who moves his family to a new home on the basis of starting a new book. Yet Ellison has ulterior motives for the move, unbeknownst to the rest of his family: a murder has recently taken place in the home, and he plans to use this as the premise of his book. He soon discovers several home videos in the attic, which only fuel his curiosity. Dastardly twists ensue. Where “Sinister” truly delivers is in its refusal to rely solely on overplayed scare tactics. In between the occasional pop–for–shock moment is real horror to be witnessed. Each home video offers a new picture of disturbing events that will leave you in disbelief. The creepy–little–children trope is also taken to a new level in “Sinister.” They no longer stare blankly ahead with dead eyes meant to spook, but await you as they hold a séance, demonic forces serving as their Indian Chief. Offering a unique and effective story, decent acting, and consistently fraying the nerves and mind of the viewer, “Sinister” is an experience that will leave you checking over your shoulder as you exit the theatre.
Directed by Scott Derrickson
Starring Ethan Hawke, Juliet Rylance, Vincent D’Onofrio