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Grimes & Rowe Watch a Movie: Sinister

By Storycarnivores @storycarnivores

Grimes & Rowe Watch a Movie: SinisterTitle: Sinister
Directed by: Scott Derrickson
Distributed by: Summit Entertainment
Release Date: October 12, 2012
Rated: R

Synopsis: Found footage helps a true-crime author realize how and why a family was murdered in his new home, though his discoveries put his entire family in the path of a supernatural entity. (Via IMDB)

Brian: Every year I look for that one horror movie that really frightens the hell out of me, really gets me jumping out of my seat. In 2009, it was Orphan. In 2010, I adored Let Me In. Last year, the horror champion was Insidious. And now, we have 2012′s clear-cut winner, the enormously effective and endlessly terrifying Sinister. Poor Shaunta had to suffer through my screams, which I’m sure she’ll go into more detail about below. But I just couldn’t help myself. And you know what? It’s fun to be scared. I like to be scared… if the scares are earned. Very few movies these days really know how to scare us (we could talk about the latest Adam Sandler comedies, but that’s a whole different issue). Is Sinister the most original horror film ever put on the planet? Absolutely not. But does it set out to do what we hope it will do? Yes, and then some. I loved the hell out of this movie.

Shaunta: When I was about 13, my sister and I were left home alone and we decided that was a great time to watch Nightmare on Elm Street. It had just come out on video, we weren’t even allowed to watch rated R movies of any kind, and I have never, ever been so petrified. We sat together in an arm chair, I didn’t sleep for a week after, and Freddy Krueger ruined horror movies for me, because nothing ever came close to scaring me like that. Sinister came close. It might be because Brian and I were practically sitting in the same seat, and he kept screaming in my ear just like my little sister did in 1985. Brian’s right, it was a fun, good kind of scared. An earned scared. The story was more than a little formulaic, but the music was insane and it took me the rest of the night to unwind my freak-out after it was over. We were supposed to see Frankenstein, and it was a little disappointing when the theater had technical difficulties. I’m not sorry we ended up seeing Sinister together, though. Not at all. If I’d gone to see it alone, I might have had a heart attack walking to the parking garage by myself alone! There are a few horror movies that I like to watch every year in October, and this one just made the list.

Brian: One masterstroke of Sinister is the casting of Ethan Hawke in the main role. He’s one of those actors I’ve always enjoyed over the years – never more so than in the Before Sunrise movies – and he’s perfect in this role, playing a one-hit-wonder of a true crime writer going as far as to move his family into a home that acted as a previous crime scene, just so he can write the book he’ll be paid millions for and be remembered for decades for. He wants to write his In Cold Blood! This could be the story that gives him a legacy! So much of the movie is Hawke reacting to things, and he does a great job. But in a strange way, in a movie this scary, there was something about Hawke that gave me just a small bit of comfort, like, maybe everything in the end will turn out OK. Oh, how wrong I was!

Shaunta: I thought Sinister was so full of cliches that it bordered on ironic, Scream style. How do we know Ethan Hawke was a writer? Well, he did spend the entire movie in a hipster knit sweater with leather elbow patches. And in case you ever forget that he’s in a horror movie, he constantly goes into the attic, because he thinks someone is up there, without even turning on a light. I spent half the movie begging him to please, for the love of God, turn on a light! But it was the kind of cliched that made the movie more fun, because you knew what was coming. If you didn’t know what was coming, the tension might have been unbearable. This was the second movie this year (The Words was the first) about a writer who is seduced by the idea of fame and fortune and a career to do something really horrible. I find the concept really interesting. Bottom line, if you’re going to see a movie this weekend before Halloween, this is the one.

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