“Sinister” stars Ethan Hawke as a true crime writer who moves his family into a home where a family was recently murdered. Actually, they were hung from a tree just outside the home. Apparently the authorities didn’t even bother to cut the tree down or at least the branch that acted as a counterweight. Of course, that would have been “less spooky.”
Ellison Oswalt (Hawke) assures his wife (Juliet Rylance) that they are NOT living in the death house. Apparently they are so isolated from the small town, that she doesn’t even run across information that contradicts her husband’s assertion.
Anyway, Hawke discovers a box full of super 8 snuff films that includes the recently deceased family. Oswalt fails to tell the authorities about the films and proceeds to watch them over and over. He notices a dark demon who appears in the background of all the family murders. An occult studies college professor tells Oswalt that the symbols found at the murder scene point to Bughuul, a Pagan god that feasts of the souls of children.
Okay, that’s enough of the plot. Is it scary? Creepy is more like it. “Sinister” makes you feel uneasy, lulls you into sleepy mode and then slaps you with a couple of cheap scares.
It’s produced by the guy who last year brought us “Insidious.” And, let me tell you. With a PG-13 rating, “Insidious” is ten times scarier than the R-rated “Sinister.”
Hawke’s Oswalt is not likeable. He lies to his family. Fails to report critical evidence to the authorities. Likes watching snuff films. He’s pretty much a terrible husband and parent. His family deserves better. And, we deserve a better horror movie. Grade: C