By Steven O’Connor
Only once had I ever seen a movie that scared the life out of me. When I was a young boy I watched The Omen and ever since then the movie gives me the creeps. The 1976 horror classic, directed by Richard Donner, told of the birth of Damien the Antichrist. Even thinking about that movie now, from the evil face of the young Damien to the haunting sounds of “Avi Satani”, it just chills my blood. The horrible sequels combined with me avoiding the original like the plague made it easier to watch horror films which since then haven’t been very good. There have been some gems along the way like Tony Todd’s fantastic portrayal of The Candyman but ultimately the genre hasn’t really impressed me. Some horror movies have been downright laughable and many directors just try too hard and the shock value just isn’t there. The genre in recent years has seen a dramatic change to the brutality and realism of movies such as the Saw franchise and Hostel. So I saw the trailer for a little horror movie which aims to bring back the terror of the haunted house and the Boogeyman so I thought I would check it out, and as much as I enjoyed it, I really wasn’t prepared for what I saw.
Director Scott Derrickson had some earlier success with The Exorcism of Emily Rose and in Sinister, has succeeded in scaring the crap out of audiences with the help of a screenplay written by C. Robert Cargill. After seeing Gore Verbinski’s remake of The Ring, Cargill took a nap when he went home and experienced a terrifying nightmare. In the nightmare he ventures up to his attic and discovers a box which contains several reels of super-8 film and an old projector. Upon loading up the projector he watches in horror as the reels show a family of four, hooded and hanging from a tree, all at the same time. This terrifying and seemingly very real image became the opening shot of Sinister.
Sinister sticks very closely to original vision of Cargill’s and tells the story of Ellison Oswalt (Ethan Hawke), a famous true-crime writer who is trying to re-create the success of his debut book, Kentucky Blood, in which his reporting exposed cracks in the police department’s murder investigation; as a result, cops don’t like him very much. Unable to repeat Kentucky Blood’s impact with any subsequent work of non-fiction, Oswalt moves his family—wife Tracy, son Trevor, and daughter Ashley—to a quaint suburban home in Long Island without revealing to his wife that a family of four was simultaneously hung from a tree in the backyard and the youngest daughter went missing. After moving in to their new home, Ellison takes a look in the attic, where he finds the box of Super-8 reels labelled with such titles as “BBQ, ’79,” “Pool Party, ’86” and “Sleepy Time, ’98.”. So he sets about beginning his research for his latest book and he along with the audience are in for one hell of a chilling ride.
I am not going to go any further into the story as you have to see this one to believe it. Normally I would include the trailer with an article but if you are inclined to see this movie, which I really hope you are, I beg you not to watch the trailer as it gives too much away. Go to the cinema and experience the shocks, the thrills, the surprises and the incredibly chilling images without warning and see how you get on. I still get chills just thinking about this and was so happy that I saw it during the day and didn’t have to go to bed until several hours later. I haven’t felt like that in many years and hopefully not again. So I would say that Cargill and Derrickson should be proud as they made a genuinely scary, yes…scary, horror movie that will no doubt get put to the side as people go to see Skyfall. So I ask you to go and give this movie a chance and please, for your own good, don’t go alone.
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