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Nov 11, 2012

Sinister Movie Review

The problem with American horror films is that they still stick with the tropes they set from ages ago. With their ingenious concepts they could have actually made a horror hit if not a masterpiece by now. It's noteworthy though that every year Hollywood tries to play with these tropes and set them just right into time for an effective scare or build up.

Asian Cinema on the other hand tries to reinvent its own horror wheel by adapting elements from Hollywood which apparently turned out to be quite a mess in the last 3 to 5 years. But Asian Cinema stands still with its plausible production of horror masterpieces that are definitely scarier than most American horror films. Throw in Sinister into a tower of good Asian horror movies and it will definitely get on the bottom. The good news there is that it placed!

Sinister succeeds in multiple levels but failed to raise the scare factor up to a hair-raising phase. It is only middling scary and that's quite commendable after Hollywood's numerous attempt of creating a good horror movie. It's good in my opinion but as what I've said relied too much on the cliches which pushed the movie to the eerie and screaming phases.

It was rather unsettling than scary. A major positive for the film is its stylized transition from the crime videos to the main story. There are legit scares from here and there but are not enough to raise the bar in horror. The Super 8 Films, however, are scarier than the movie as a whole which is actually very predictable. Acting isn't bad but the lighting was or maybe Ellison Oswalt (Ethan Hawke) just needed to turn on the lights.

Nevertheless, if you liked Insidious and Derrickson's The Exorcism Emily Rose then I can recommend Sinister but watch it without thinking too much. Well, it does make you think and that's supposedly a good thing but when you end up expecting for something big in the end then I must tell you the twist people liked about this movie is actually just around the corner.

Official Movie Poster of Sinister

I have a few other nits for this movie. Acting is quite good in a way that Ethan Hawke got into my nerves for 'opting' not to turn on the lights when the switch is actually on his reach. I'm also annoyed by his unbearable skepticism when he's the only witness to the hauntings. Supporting characters didn't seem so important because like the director's previous film "The Exorcism of Emily Rose", this movie did focused too much on the lead character. They should have the retitled it "The Haunting of the Energy-Saving Ellison Oswalt". I heard some people say this movie is shocking. Well, the only thing that shocked me is that why the hell didn't any of the family members wake up during the loudest moments in the story. While the premise sounds good and original, the whole story suffers from lazy writing.  I also think Sinister the hushing part in the end is way over the top.

Musical score is fantastic and the rotating film and noise of the 8mm film projector adds up to the fantastic atmosphere set by all the gruesome homemade videos which I love. In the end, this movie is frankly passable but it's subtle approach to horror makes it stand out considering Hollywood can never do horror subtly which is evident to most Asian movies. A subtle triumph with decent storyline but a disappointing scary movie!

Rating: 3/5

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