Sinister: Good acting, but wait for the DVD
The first in a series of films to be released from the horror genre this season is “Sinister.” It follows the story of true-crime novelist, Ellison Oswalt (Ethan Hawke) as he moves his family from town to town in search of his next big book idea. Each time he moves his family, they grow more despondent and agitated with their seemingly nomadic lifestyle. This causes a great amount of friction in Oswalt’s marriage. It also seems to be the root of his son’s night terrors and his daughter’s compelling need to expressively paint on her walls.
The story really takes off as, Oswalt is placing boxes in the attic of the new house and discovers a box labeled “Home Movies” which contains a super 8mm projector and several film canisters labeled with their own clever titles. Oswalt sees his family to bed and stays up to get a jump start on his next novel investigating the crimes that occurred in the new town of his residence. He decides to set up the projector and take a glimpse of the most recent reel in the series. The film turns out to be an actual film of the murder in which he is basing his current crime novel. The inner conflict eats away at him as he struggles with the choice of turning this over to the police or holding on to them and having the inside scoop on what could turn into a best seller.
I am an avid horror film junkie as well as a huge fan of Hawke. I have admired his work ever since he was that kid that built the spaceship out of a tilt-a-whirl in “Explorers” (look it up, kids). Hawke delivers some of his best work in “Sinister” as he struggles with family problems, drinking and the apparitions that haunt him throughout the movie. He plays the believable role of a person who is beginning to question their own reality while everything he knows is revoked and substituted with a paranormal reality. “Sinister” is almost a one-man show and rightfully so. The supporting cast is fairly convincing as well; right down to the bumbling local “Barney Fife-like” cop that feeds him information to fuel his novel.
While the acting in this film was great, the story could have been told in an hour in a made-for-tv movie. I felt that it was a little predictable as the director fed the audience too many clues in a short amount of time. My first instinct was correct and I had drawn a conclusion that ended up to be the exact scenario that was revealed in the final moments of the movie. As I mentioned earlier though, I am an avid horror fan and perhaps had a leg up on this sort of thing. My overall opinion of this is to wait for the DVD release. I have a feeling that we have not yet seen this year’s great horror movie. If you want to see last year’s, rent “Cabin in the Woods.” It is one of the most refreshing takes on horror films that I have seen in many years. If you are interested in real “true crime” novels, I suggest Amy: My Search for Her Killer by novelist and Ohio native James Renner.
Showtimes for Friday at Rave Motion Pictures Polaris 18, 1071 Gemini Place: 10:35 a.m., 12:10 p.m., 1:15 p.m., 2:45 p.m., 4 p.m., 5:30 p.m., 6:45 p.m., 8:15 p.m., 9:45 p.m. and 10:50 p.m.