All News & Blogs
Juliet Rylance, Ethan Hawke and Michael Hall D'Addario seek to spook in 'Sinister.'
Visit the Photo Place
BY ROGER MOORE
McCLATCHY-TRIBUNE NEWS SERVICE
"Sinister" goes about as far as a horror movie can with just shocking images, a good cast and outstanding sound design. But this modestly creepy blend of "The Ring" and "The Shining" whiffs on a horror film fundamental: Nobody seems that scared.
What fear there is is faced by one person, and he's very slow to get alarmed over the things that go bump in the night and the boogieman he thinks he catches a glimpse of, many times.
Ellison Oswalt (Ethan Hawke), a true-crime author in desperate need of a hit, doesn't tell his wife and family that he's moved them into a house that was the scene of a mass murder.
He sees nothing weird in the fact that he finds old home movies of that murder and others, and the projector that will show them.
And even as he is shocked at the images of mass drownings, group throat-slittings and immolation, and the pale satanic figure that turns up in reflections, in shadows and in the bottom of a pool in those old silent 8-millimeter movies, he doesn't recoil and flee the house where his boy has night terrors, his daughter is doing strange drawings and his wife (Juliet Rylance) wonders what's going on.
"This could be my 'In Cold Blood'!" Ellis insists. A "happy ending." Right.
Co-writer/director Scott Derrickson forgets that what we don't see, or glimpse, is far more frightening than giving away the game.
Still, a tip of the hat to the sound designers, who concocted a scratchy old music- loop aural milieu. The silent movies are chillingly scored with their effects and Christopher Young's music.
If "Sinister" looked and played as insidious as their soundtrack suggests, they'd have had something--an other "Insidious," for in stance. They don't.
STARRING: Ethan Hawke, Juliet Rylance, Fred Dalton Thompson, James Ransone
CREDITS: Directed by Scott Derrickson, written by C. Robert Cargill and Scott Derrickson. A Summit release. Running time: 1:49.
RATED: R for disturbing violent images and some terror
THEATERS: Aquia 10,