© Wild Bunch/Central

U.S.A. 2012

Opening 22 Nov 2012

Directed by: Scott Derrickson
Writing credits: Scott Derrickson, C. Robert Cargill
Principal actors: Ethan Hawke, Juliet Rylance, Fred Dalton Thompson, James Ransone, Clare Foley

Sinister is about a struggling true crime writer, Ellison (Ethan Hawke), who has a habit of moving his family from crime scene to crime scene in order to create his next big novel. In one scene his wife Tracy (Juliet Rylance) asks Ellison if they have moved into a house three houses down from a murder scene again? Ellison replies no and does not tell his wife that they are actually moving into THE house where the murder of a family took place and one member of the family is still missing. Ellison’s family is in ruins due to constantly moving and Ellison’s reputation for investigating murders and defacing law enforcement in his novels. His son Trevor (Michael Hall D’Addario) is troubled by night terrors that cause him to sleepwalk, his wife is bothered by Ellison’s obsession to his novels and lack of attention to his family. Ellison copes with stress by hitting the whiskey bottle.

Ellison finds a box in the attic labeled “Home Movies.” Inside he finds 8mm film with various titles like “Sleepy Time ’98”, “BBQ ’79,” etc. The films show the murders of four families. In each murder case one member of the family goes missing and is never found. As Ellison starts to research the films, he starts to hear weird noises in his house that frighten him. He seeks help from a deputy in the town whom he calls Deputy So-And-So (James Ransone) for information on the families in the films he has watched. Deputy So-And-So refers Ellison to Professor Jonas (Vincent D’Onofrio). Professor Jonas is an expert in demonism and explains that a symbol found at each murder scene is the symbol of Bughuul. Bughuul was known as an eater of children’s souls. Ellison is frightened enough by incidents occurring in the house that he takes his family back to their real home. Once there, Ellison receives a call from Deputy So-And-So informing him of the one thing that connects all the murders to one another, but by then it might be too late.

I liked this film although it was a bit predictable. It played on fears of the Boogieman and the style in which the families are murdered are some of the worst imaginable. The movie is not gruesome but shows enough to make the viewer cringe and the hair on your arms stand up. (Marisa Rast)

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