Sinister (2012)

Published on 17 April 2024 at 11:17

I've accidentally been on hiatus for some time due to a complicated schedule this semester with my work and school, but I plan on making a FULL resurgence with new blog entries. So, I figure, what better way to get back into my word salad groove than to talk about one of my favorite horror? Without further ado, folks, here's Sinister - one of Ethan Hawke's best performances that I've seen, in my humble opinion. 

Horror is my favorite genre specifically to analyze. The fun lies in how easy it is to either screw up majorly, or to shock an audience beyond their wildest dreams. Final Destination raised a generation terrified to drive behind trucks on the freeway transporting timber. Along the psychological thriller route, Martyrs (which will be a blog entry in the near future) has completely disoriented the way I perceived human consciousness, and approaced the concept of life after death in a unique and jarring way. Sinister captures my attention, beyond the amazing acting performances and believable characters, because of its ending.

A horror movie and its ending are like peanut butter and jelly. Because as I've grown older and my frontal lobe has been acquired, I've wondered, what is the point to all of the chaos if the characters don't suffer for it? The audience sits and watches the madness unfold for 90 minutes of their life, hearts racing and palms sweating, only for birds to sing and characters to grin in the end? Maybe leaving with some trauma and scars to fade in the years, but otherwise untouched? For the more troubling horrors, beyond the campy slashers or cheap jumpscare paranormal thrillers, there is a message. You are meant to be left uncomfortable, perturbed by what you've beared witness, and irrevocably disturbed. Sinister shows you that even the worst situations can't be redeemed by the right choices. 


Ethan Hawke's character is an introverted, very antalytical true-crime author whose discovery of miscellanous and ominous tapes in the attic of his family's new home entices him. As he is locked away with his work, we see the tensions arising in his marriage, and the ways in which the move has affected his children in unprecedented ways. As I try to selfishly claim to be an author myself (I have 14 finished novels on my computer that have yet to see the day), I admire how he perfectly captures an author's dive into madness as they are tunnel-visioning into their project, shutting out other aspects of their lives in the process. Because of his characterization, it's much more believable that he doesn't flee at the immediate discovery of these casette tapes showing grisly murders; rather, it's his project, and he will not let it rest until it has been truly dissected. Ultimately, though, at the pleas of his wife, and as the house holds too much proof that evil lies within, he tries to take responsibility and help his family escape their rather bizarre predicament. 


And then, it ends with everyone dead.


I also appreciate the lack of cheap jumpscares throughout the movie. I'm a fan of the Conjuring series and the Insidious movies make my heart sing when I want a fun horror movie to wind down in evenings, but I recognize their faults. Sinister has just enough gore to get the message across without feeling unnecessary at any points, and the visuals aren't at all an eyesore. And sure, there are a few horror movie cliche scenes as the story of our demon, Bughuul, is explained to us, but I quite like Bughuul. And in finality, I quite like Sinister.

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