1. james82

    james82 Active Member

    May 15, 2015
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    Boston, MA

    Scary movie review...

    Discussion in 'Entertainment' started by james82, Aug 11, 2015.

    Outside of writing novels, screenplays, short stories, song lyrics, poems, and you know, the whole nine,
    I also try my hand at writing both movie and video game reviews. So today, I thought I'd do up a little
    review of the 2012 horror film SINISTER since the sequel is hitting theaters pretty soon.


    I had a lot of anticipation going into this film do to the constant word of mouth by people I know
    personally who'd seen it, claiming it was the scariest horror film in the last decade, as well as watching
    the trailers and some short reviews to garner my hype.

    Sinister is about a crime novelist played by Ethan Hawk who moves his family into the very same
    house where a previous family was murdered, specifically hung in their backyard, only his wife and
    children don't know it.

    Upon arrival, Ellison (Ethan Hawk) soon discovers a box of 8mm films in the attic which show in
    graphic detail a series of grisly murders, each one labeled and featuring a different family.
    Pretty creepy stuff, and that's my first complaint. This movie was more creepy than it was actually
    scary, and I think that's the case with most modern-day horror films.

    When I was really young, like ten, sure I'd be scared to sit in my living room all by myself at night
    with all the lights out and watch say Friday the 13th or Child's Play.

    I'd go to sleep at night and think Chucky was under my bed, or some shadow cast across the wall was
    Micheal Myers standing in the corner of my bedroom, when in fact it was just a hanging bathrobe.
    But Sinister is one of those films that asks us to suspend our belief of the supernatural, due to there
    being heavy elements of it throughout the film. That never gets me anymore. A more realistic scenario,
    at least for me, comes across as more scary. (Although I am contradicting myself as I type this because
    I am currently writing a horror script that does contain some supernatural elements.)

    Take The Blair Witch Project for example. Here we have three documentarians who get lost in
    the woods and become hunted. Who they're hunted by, we never actually see throughout the entire film.
    So what does the Blair Witch look like? Well, that's left for our imagination to decide, to visualize,
    and that's why it was effective.

    But aside from the presence of the supernatural, there's a few things in Sinister that I most definitely enjoyed,
    and the first being Ethan Hawk's performance. Here we have a guy who's desperately trying to top one of his
    earlier works titled "Kentucky Blood" and will willingly move his family into a murder site to do research.
    To investigate the mysteries at hand. There was one scene in particular in which his wife finds out that
    he'd moved them into the same house as the former slaughtered family and the confrontation between
    the two actors gets pretty intense. The acting, very good. The movie also starts out with a very eerie frame,
    SPOILER - four family members noosed to a tree. The tree's branch is mysteriously lowered by some
    unknown force and the family is then lifted off their feet. Get used to this image, because it will make
    it's rounds, appearing a good four or five times in the film. Ellison will go into his study to investigate
    a noise, then suddenly the projector screen will turn on and there we'll see that very same image again.

    There are two trends going on in Sinister. Found footage and creepy children. But the creepy children become
    even creepier in this movie because they are seemingly ghost children. And the way they move
    is just as chilling.

    Ellison will walk down the hallways of his house and the ghost children will sneak around in the b.g.,
    only they'll be moving in slow-motion, Ellison, real time. This effect is done really well because it makes
    it seem like the children are in another realm, and in a way, they are - Bughuul's realm.

    And who is Bughuul? Just some wackjob in a mask, or was it a painted face? Whoever he is, he's the one
    responsible for quite a bit of what happens so I won't delve too much into him. Another thing that I liked
    was Deputy So and So. Yeah I know the name sounds corny, but his role in the movie is anything but,
    as he turns out to be quite an essential character.

    Ellison is so busy between his work and his family that having someone aid him in his research into the crimes becomes really convenient, and that's exactly what Deputy So and So does. He also has one of the creepiest lines
    in the entire film. Another component of the film that I liked was how we see the result of a murder without it getting too gory because we know what happens in advance through drawings. And there is
    one drawing in particular that really grabs our attention. It's a plant-payoff formula that works really well,
    as we learn early on that Ellison's daughter likes to draw, and we soon suspect, that her drawings
    will somehow play a role. And they do, a big one.

    Some things that I didn't like were the cliche moments involving Ellison roaming slowly through his house
    in the middle of the night to investigate strange noises. One of these sequences even goes on for a good
    ten minutes, and by the end of it, he's in the attic only to discover it was a snake under a pile of boxes.
    All that agony of watching Ellison move through his house for ten minutes only for it to turn out to be
    a snake! That's what I call a cheap payoff. His son's nightmares were another dislike.
    Yeah, there's a good scene in which his son emerges from a box while emitting a chilling scream.
    We think he's possessed or something, yet he was actually only sleepwalking. Another stupid payoff,
    and ultimately this becomes a distraction for Ellison throughout the movie. Even some of the actual
    murders in the films were unoriginal, except one, but the imagery itself makes up for it.

    So overall, I would say Sinister is satisfying for what it is, a solid horror film that takes modern-day
    horror trends and makes them it's own while effectively tieing in a good old ghost story.
    Is it worth a viewing Yes. But don't count on having any nightmares afterwards.

    I give sinister a solid B.

    So what do you guys think, do you want to see the movie now? If anyone has seen the film, please feel
    free to tell me what you think of my review. Also, feel free to write your own scary movie review or any
    movie review in general in this thread so I/we can give you our feedback.

    If you don't feel like writing a movie review than just tell us, what's your favorite
    scary movie and why?

    Next up I will do a review of Rob Zombie's Halloween (2007).
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2015
  2. The Mad Regent

    The Mad Regent Senior Member

    May 26, 2015
    Likes Received:
    Wirral, England
    I enjoyed Sinister. I thought it was quite original for a horror/chiller movie, and Ethan Hawk is a very underrated actor.

    However, saying that, it was a bit clique in parts, but it's definitely one of the better modern horror/chiller films I've seen.
  3. Ex Leper

    Ex Leper Member

    Jul 25, 2008
    Likes Received:
    I love horror films. But, for the last ten years or so I thought I had grown out of horror. Turns out, it wasn't me it was the movies. They were just not making anything that appealed to me. They were either making remakes, or found footage movies, or jump-scare-a-thons. The genre just lacked imagination. But, recently, I revisited some classics like Guillermo Del Toro's Cronos and found out I do still love horror movies.

    So, with that in mind, is Sinister full of jump scares?

    Halloween (1978) is one of my favorite films and I don't like the remake. Saying that, I look forward to your review.

    Lastly, I'm going to recommend a film to you. The Babadook. An australian movie that has gone some way to restoring my faith in the genre.
    james82 likes this.
  4. james82

    james82 Active Member

    May 15, 2015
    Likes Received:
    Boston, MA

    I was excited for the Halloween remake as I'd been a fan of the iconic horror franchise
    for a long time and have seen every Halloween film leading up to the last one,
    Halloween Resurrection, more than once.

    The original was a great film, and like Friday The 13th, the interest hung in the balance
    of the killer. We were really caught off guard when it was revealed that a women
    was the killer all along in the first Friday The 13th, as she was finally shown by the end
    of the film as Jason's mother. And in Halloween, about ten minutes in, the POV of the
    killer was revealed to be a little boy, maybe even more of a shocker.
    Yet his motive for killing his sister, unclear.

    The original Halloween is a classic now and really captures those moments of melancholy
    and dread with those long, sweeping shots as the camera pans through dark rooms and
    exteriors of homes, all while that notorious theme plays. There was a lot of mystery
    surrounding Micheal Myers, an unstoppable masked psychopath. Well, that's probably
    a more suitable description of how the character turned out in Rob Zombie's 2007 remake.

    In the original by John Carpenter, there was no real explanation as to what caused Myers
    to turn evil at the age of six. There was no explanation as to why he didn't talk, or why he
    was out to kill his sister Laurie or anyone else that would get in his way. But in the remake,
    Zombie provides a more in depth focus on Micheal's horrid situation and how he'd come to
    operate, because in the remake, the first act focuses on a young Micheal Myers.

    Micheal is bullied, not only by kids at school, but by his lousy stepfather too. Even his sister
    Judith doesn't treat him all that good. He kills and dissect rats and cats as Dr. Loomis says
    "I hope you're not squeamish Miss Myers," while Debra Myers views a photo of a dead animal
    that was found in Micheal's backpack. So Micheal likes to cause harm huh? Not a good hobby,
    and all of this sounds pretty simplistic as we say to ourselves "Sure, any kid who delves into
    this type of behavior and is frequently bullied will most definitely turn out to be some
    crazy maniac, right?" Wrong. This was just a safe bet for Zombie, to take a more cliched approach
    as to why people become serial killers. There was nothing unexpected about Micheal's
    earlier trauma. Something we would never think could cause someone to become so twisted,
    just cliche hobbies and treatment of someone who clearly wasn't sane. And right off the bat,
    I wasn't impressed.

    The more insight into what made Micheal the mass murderer he'd become killed off the
    mysteriousness of the character, and it didn't help by casting a six foot nine inch Tyler Mane
    to play him. Although a decent actor (I liked him as Ajax in Troy), he was too big for the role
    and reminded me more of Leatherface, especially with that long hair he'd been growing out
    while incarcerated for fifteen years at Smith's Grove. But bottom line, we didn't need a Micheal
    that big. So why is it that the smaller built, supernatural version of Micheal Myers comes across
    as more effective than the more humanized, intimidating Micheal Myers that Zombie presents?
    Again, it goes right back to the mysteriousness of the character.

    The second act of the film is pretty much young Micheal's incarceration at Smith's Grove,
    the hospital/jail Micheal was sent after being found guilty of killing not only his sister this time,
    but also her boyfriend and his stepfather. There's a few improvised speeches between
    young Micheal and Dr. Loomis that are rather nice, and Micheal's inevitable escape as an
    adult ain't that bad either, something we never saw in the original film. It was really slick and
    well done. I just thought of something, maybe Zombie cast a big man due to Micheal's needing
    to break chains around his hands because if a five foot ten inch guy did that it just wouldn't
    be believable. Wait, scratch that, it really doesn't matter, because even with a big guy,
    it still wasn't believable. But either way, it looked cool.

    In the film, Micheal's cell at Smith's Grove features his entire collection of masks that he'd
    crafted for years on end and that was also a nice touch. Outside of the silly clown mask he wore
    as a kid and the more iconic white-faced mask he'd wear as an adult, the masks themselves had
    more significance to him.

    I liked the casting of Malcolm McDowell as Dr. Loomis. Even his transition from a long-haired
    hipster to a professional-looking psychologist sporting a new white beard after fifteen years
    was spot on. Donald Pleasance's Loomis is more iconic, just because it's Donald Pleasance,
    if you know what I mean, but McDowell delivers a convincing performance here.
    Zombie also has the tendency to cast his wife Sherry in everything he does which is
    understandable, but she also does a good job as Debra Myers, really digging deep into the role
    and exploiting all kinds of emotions.

    The third act of the film is essentially Micheal's return to Haddonfield as an adult, and this is
    the part that is the most reminiscent to the original. I think some of it was even shot in the
    same location.

    I didn't mind Scout Taylor-Compton's more spunky Laurie Strode, and even Danielle Harris
    from the earlier Halloween films makes a return as Laurie's friend. I liked when Micheal returns
    to his old home and retrieves his now molded, disfigured mask that we've all come to know so
    well from under rotten planks in his bedroom floor. The mask that he'd hid there fifteen years earlier.
    He holds up the rotten mask to the little sunlight seeping into the room, looking
    into it's hollow eyes and just then, the Halloween theme begins. Awesome.

    There's some grittier stuff in the finale, but most of the scenes leading up to it can drag at times.
    There is one scene in particular where Zombie really captures Micheal's fury,
    as he's seen ripping apart a ceiling with a floor board, trying to get to his sister who's
    trapped above.

    But overall, Halloween 2007 was somewhat of a disappointment. A disappointment with
    a few decent moments along the way. This wasn't as much of a fresh take on the subject that
    I was expecting as it was merely Zombie's take on the subject. A style so vivid and twisted,
    yet at the same time so raw, that it just doesn't live up to the original and comes across
    as too much of a modern rehash with the same formula when it's all said and done.
    Oh, and Love does hurt, as that song in Halloween hurt as well. C+

    Last edited: Aug 27, 2015
    Ex Leper likes this.

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