Sinister? I Just Met ‘Er! Sinister Review, Part One

17 Feb

Welcome to a review of Sinister, or as I call it, “any excuse to not have to finish reading the Creepypasta”.

You… you made a bit of a mess on the wall- oh, never mind, I’ll get it.

Sinister is a 2012 horror film with a solid pedigree, coming from the producers of Paranormal Activity and Insidious, as the poster helpfully supplies. Not only that, but it was directed by the man who directed the Day The Earth Stood Still remake, and written by somebody who based it off The Ring! The American version, naturally. We are, of course, going to ignore the fact that most of those movies are utterly terrible, and instead dig in.


The film opens with- old footage of three people getting hanged to death. Well, it’s already made a better V/H/S/ 3 than the actual V/H/S/ 3. After that, we cut to a family moving in to a new house- first cliche, take a shot- and we meet our protagonist, a writer- take a shot- who is played by Ethan Hawke- take a sho- oh, wait, never mind.

As Hawke talks to his creepy daughter, we get some exposition. Namely, that he uprooted his entire family to move here, so he could… write his book? Well, I don’t mean to disregard the creative process- oh, wait, no, that’s exactly what I mean to do. You don’t have to move houses just to write a book. If you couldn’t write a book in one house- surprise surprise! It’s probably not the house’s fault!

The Sheriff drives by- he stops by for a visit, I mean, he’s not performing a drive-by. As much as I wish he was. Anyway, Hawke is a true crime writer, and the Sheriff doesn’t want him around to investigate a missing girl. Well, that, and the fact that their new house is inevitably a crime scene. Either that, or a haunted burial ground, or a cursed asylum, or- god forbid- the location where they’re shooting that Poltergeist remake.

While putting boxes up in the attic, Hawke finds a collection of super-8 tapes from the previous owners. That evening, Hawke starts setting up his office, where he has maps, pictures of the missing girl, and- crime scene photos?! Do… do they actually give those away to random assholes? Hell, especially when the crime is unsolved? And you know what, considering that this movie’s writer’s credits before this were “bunk” and “squat”, I don’t exactly feel like giving him the benefit of the doubt.

He pops in one of the movies, which contains footage of the family enjoying a day in the backyard, and oh yes, footage of the entire family getting hanged. Except for the missing girl, because that would be too easy. He makes several notes about it, before heading outside to the backyard, and eyeing the tree where they all died. Annnnnd then he goes back inside, having learnt nothing. Mission accomplished, Hawke!

Hawke wanders the house in the pitch black for a while, hunting for jump scares, before finding his daughter and putting her back to sleep. By tucking her in, instead of a tranq dart. Which makes no sense to me, but I guess that’s one of the reasons why I’ll never be a parent. That, and the court order.

He settles back in to watch another tape, which has yet another recording of nice happy people, which is then intercut with people dying again. Same melody, different dance. Only this time, the happy people are at a lake, and the dying people are chained up in a car and lit on fire. Which makes it only slightly less scary than a Pinto.

Hawke calls the police, but after reminiscing on his failed books, hangs up and decides to pop another tape in. He hears somebody wandering through the house, and after a “tension” building scene, finds his son having a night terror. You know, one of those very specific kind of night terrors that relies on hiding in a cardboard box and screaming like a banshee when the camera wanders by.

They wake him up, and the next day, Hawke digs back into the tapes. You know the drill; happy footage, happy footage, then jumps to scary footage. Namely, a teenage pool party that jump cuts to somebody pulling people strapped to gurneys underwater, to drown them. Oh, and who happens to be standing underwater but… um. A guy! With… with make-up! Seriously, take your pick, there are about a thousand references to run with. Insane Clown Posse, the Crow, the Joker, Diamanda Hagan…

Or, quite possibly, Diamanda Hagan after joining the Insane Clown Posse, while wearing the face of the Crow, and the skin of the Joker. If one felt like making the TV Tropes page on “Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs” work for a living.


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