Text Review of “Sinister”


The plot of the movie follows the main protagonist who is a one hit wonder true crime writer. He is trying to get another hit after 10 years. He moves into the house where a family was hanged and a child when missing. Then spooky stuff happens…..

The current crop of Horror movies I have seen were drastically disappointing. I could not remember seeing a good horror movie mess for the last few years. I have no interest in found footage movies such as “Paranormal activity”. I personally view the found footage gimmick as a serious backward movie for the genre since it lets B-movies with poor acting , poor script, low budget to earn a lot of money. As a result, the quality of A-Horror movies suffers.
“Sinister” is somewhat in between a A and B status as a horror movie. As with B movies, the story is very closed off with only few actors, the number of locations as very limited mostly occurring in the within the “haunted” house. Compared to the common B movie, the budget seems larger than a shoe string. This is not the only thing better than the common B movie. While there are some jump scares, the movies is not driven by the plot but the main protagonist the writer reacting on an emotional level to the findings about several murders. The most important characteristic that brings“Sinister” closer to a A movies is that it actually has good actors. They deliver good personal performances that create the psychological tension and terror. The performances drive the movie and not any elaborate plot or CGI monster. Actually the movie has few any special effects that are noticeable. The fact that the plot is simplistic but the script is also written tightly and does not have large plot wholes helps with this personal performance centric approach by the director.
The problem is that the plot is too simplistic. First, there is no hook to the horror. A hook is an object that the plot is built around and focuses and amplified the audience’s horror. It could a magic book, a severed hand. In some movies it was a mirror. Here, there is nothing like that. 8mm films are used to provide information and not have exposition scenes but you do not fear the 8mm films.
Second, the actual supernatural entity is barely existent.  You don’t really get to know him as there are only a few scenes with it and its identity is delivered by two Skype calls with a professor. You don’t know what to be afraid about. You are afraid because the characters are rather than the audience directly being afraid.
Third, there is no third act. During the third act, there should have been an attempt to defeat the supernatural entity or something even if it is doomed to fail. The movie ends right after the main protagonist gets some information about what’s going on. There is no real attempt to solve the problem other than leaving the house. In this aspect, “Sinister” seems like a twist movie. But you see the twist after 20 minutes into the movie.
The problem with “Sinister” is that it is not really scary! While the idea of the movie is frequently done, the story is delivered in an interesting manner with good performances. But rather than being a horror movie, it is closer to a simple but tightly written psychological drama.

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