One movie that was high on my 'anticipation' horror list in 2012 was that of the Scott Derrickson helmed 'Sinister'. It arrives on DVD and Blu-ray today here in the UK and so we revisit the terrifying tale of the Oswalt family. Ethan Hawke plays Ellison Oswalt, a disgraced true crime writer who packs up his stuff and moves his family into a new home. A home that just happens to be the location of a brutal murder of an entire family, unbeknownst to his supportive wife, played by Juliet Rylance. Oswalt struggles with his sanity and morality when he uncovers an box of old home movie reels in his attic. The recordings feature the various, and sickening, demise of a number of families and its up to Oswalt to investigate and piece together the mysterious happenings in order to pen his new book.
Another Blumhouse production, which these days usually signifies a high level of expected creepiness, 'Sinister' just somehow manages to miss the mark. It's atmospheric style and nerve jangling tension building is all for nothing by the second half when a more than obvious revelation becomes apparent. Ultimately this leads to an all too revealing third act and lingering sequences featuring 'certain things' that should still be hiding in the shadows.
The concept for the movie was reportedly based on a dream by scribe C. Robert Cargill which is disturbing in itself, however, 'The Exorcism of Emily Rose' helmer Derrickson seems to have just buckled halfway through. For the most part 'Sinister' is unsettling, particularly when Oswalt is privately viewing the home videos and that true feeling of 'what's coming' keeps you gripped. Sadly though it just as easily peters out and genuinely falls short of expectations.
For 'Sinister' to be labeled as 'disappointing' is probably unfair but if I can't truly struggle with a nights sleep following a viewing then I don't feel it's done its job. By no means should this be an easy task but I feel that 'Sinister' had oodles of potential and simply walked away with its head down and sheepishly shuffling its feet. Admittedly, however, an unexpected lawnmower scene did in fact give me a bonafide jump and will likely be the 'scare' highlight for me. And the disconcerting music was somewhat impressive and equal to the strangeness reflected on screen.