Overlooked Film of the Week-#80
It seems that fantasy novels and superheroes have literally overshadowed all over types of franchises in our world. I hope the "Fast and Furious" franchise and keep itself brewing into the foreseeable future, as something needs to keep things diverse in the world of major franchises. Back in the 1980's, it seemed the horror genre dominated the franchise landscape. The "Nightmare of Elm Street" series put New Line on the map in a way they probably never grasped, and that spawned more movies than I can count. As did the "Friday the 13th" series and the "Child's Play" series and the "Texas Chainsaw" series. If you can pick one horror film from the 1970s and 1980s out of a hat, most likely, it belongs to some type of franchise. Even in the future we still had a taste of that in the forms of "Scream," "Saw" and "Paranormal Activity."
I only bring this up because of "Sinister" a spooky, bone-chilling horror film that came out a few years ago and shocked my mind completely. It is amazing how a film that deals in the realm of the supernatural can still be relevant and creepy in a world which demands realism. It is also a flashback to the eerie snuff movies of the 1960s and 1970s that left lasting impressions on me as a viewer. The film's main villain, Mr. Boogie is a masterful creation and in time could rank up there with characters like Chucky, Freddy Krueger and Leatherface if done right.
The film opens with an unapologetically terrifying scene of a 8mm video showing a family being hung from a tree. The use of an 8mm camera only elevates the slow-burn horror of this family being slowly hung. Once the family finally dies, the word Sinister is plastered across the screen. At this point, my heart was already racing, and I was ready for whatever was coming next.
The film follows Ellison Oswalt (Ethan Hawke), a struggling crime writer who moves his family into a new house. Ellison is keeping a secret, he knows the house used to be a crime scene, and he wants to draw inspiration from the house in order to write a book that will get his writing career back on track. Oswald discovers a box full of 8mm videos and all of them are of gruesome murders. These murders are just as terrifying as the family getting hung and that particular video is in the bundle as well. Oswald does research after discovering the same freaky face in all of the videos and comes to the conclusion of a Babylonian demon who possesses children is behind the murders. How will Oswald protect his children?
What makes "Sinister" a memorable horror film isn't just the creepy 8mm videos, but the children as well. What is it about children that makes them so horrifying for horror movies? Clare Foley and Michael Hall D'Addario play Oswald's children in the movie, and they both do exceptional work as the creepy kids. Unlike most horror movies, they give these children a personality while also making them undeniably freaky. In the case of acting, I was once again impressed by the work by Ethan Hawke, who remains one of the best underrated actors ever. I also like Vincent D'Onofrio's appearance as an expert on the occult.
As October wraps up, look for this little gem quickly!