Friday, October 4, 2013

Day 4: Sinister (2012)

A Month of Horror

Like the genre we are here to celebrate, a sequel is always around the corner.  Horror Movies are full of sequels - from the established classics of the '80s, to today's annual cash-grab installments of the cheap and easy series.  Due to the popularity of last year's Horror Movie-A-Day, I have decided to present 31 all new (or old) horror movies for your enjoyment...

October 4: Sinister (2012)

There are many common themes in horror movies and Sinister blends three of them to good effect: the haunted writer (in this case Ethan Hawke's true-crime author struggling to recapture his past successes), the new home that proves to be less than ideal (in this case rightfully so as it was the site of the mass murder that Hawke is writing about), and the mysterious found footage (in this case, an old box of Super 8 films - and a projector - that hint at a bigger story than Hawke's character had originally imagined).

Sinister (yes, from the makers of Paranormal Activity) is a decently creepy yarn of impending madness and evil presences threatening to cross over into the realm of reality.  it is also a story of a man haunted not so much by the ghosts or demons that surround him now, but by the fleeting success he once enjoyed.

Hawke does a good job as the struggling writer, something he could very well have real world experience with, and it really is his story.  He moves his family into a house that was recently hom to a massacre and quickly settles into to his research, only to be sidetracked by a mysterious box of Super 8 films.

While the film does maintain many of the tropes of the above listed genres, it also manages to deliver some truly effective scares and genuinely eerie moments.  There is a looming "ghoul" figure that makes random appearances, but the most eerie moments are when Hawke's Ellison Oswalt sits in his study quietly watching the Super 8 videos projected on a white sheet in his darkened study.

As the movies progress, the films get more and more disturbing.  Some of the more standard scares (mysterious critters showing up) do nothing to further the plot, but the increasing horror in the videos, and the dawning realization that things are only going to get worse makes for an increasingly tense tale.

Yes, it is a little familiar but that is what makes horror movies so great.  It's like meeting up with an old friend and realizing that while it seems like nothing ever changes, things are in fact just different enough to keep things fresh.

Tomorrow, things are going to get a little chilly...

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