31 Days of Terror - 'Sinister' (2012)
31 Days of Terror will cover a wide array of horror films leading up to Halloween. We'll be posting our thoughts and feelings on some of our favorites every day for the next 31 days. If your favorite doesn't make it, it doesn't mean we don't like it, so speak up in the comments below!
I feel like audiences are either one way or the other when it comes to Scott Derrickson's Sinister. There are some people out there that don't find this film scary at all, and to you all I say: What the @!$% is wrong with you?! How is this in any way not the most terrifying thing in the world?! Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating a bit, but there's just something about Sinister that, to me, is so unnerving and just creepy as all hell.
Sinister, for those who haven't seen it; is about a family that moves into a new house because the father needs inspiration for a book he's writing. Little does the family know that the father moved them there because it is the site of a series of murders that occurred in the back yard. It's a cold case which the father, through a series of murder tapes he discovers in the attic, realizes is not only connected to the other murders but might also be demonic in nature.
The set-up for this film is perfect. How terrifying would it be to discover a box of tapes in the attic, where each tape shows footage of murders that have taken place decades apart and seemingly have no connection other than the fact that they're all in an abandoned box at the site of the most recent series of murders? This film's premise alone makes it worth seeing. Luckily, Scott Derrickson also knows how to direct a damn good horror film, and every sequence ramps up the suspense in just the right way.
Ethan Hawke also gives a great performance here portraying Ellison Oswalt, an author desperately trying to recapture his 15 minutes of fame. He's a believably flawed character that acts selfishly because he's worried that if he doesn't write a compelling book, he will forever be out of the public eye. Hawke, being a skeptic, is the perfect eye in which to view this film through; while I wouldn't have done the same things he did, you know why he did it, which made everything that transpired in the film feel natural and not set up just to scare you.
Then there's Bagul, or "Mr. Boogie", the demon himself. He makes his appearances in the videos, hidden enough that you might miss him on an initial viewing, but always there if you look close. The design of the demon is terrifying, even if he looks a bit like a member from a black metal band. There's a scene where he's just casually walking under-water in a back yard swimming pool while someone pulls a struggling, tied-up victims into the water to there deaths.
Then there's the music. This is the best horror score I've heard in a very long time. The music is composed by Christopher Young and some of the songs here give me chills just thinking about them. Each murder has it's own unique track, and they're all creepy. The one that gets under my skin the most is the the track that plays along with the "BBQ" tape; you'll know it when you hear/see it.
If you've seen Sinister and didn't find it scary, watch it again by yourself, with the lights turned off and some nice surround-sound. Then I want you to get back to me and tell me what you thought. If you haven't seen this, do yourself a favor and give it a watch, as it's one of the scariest films I've ever seen and it will always have a spot on my list of favorite horror films.