The titles of horror films these days tend to sum up the product with one word when it shouldn’t. In Sinister, due out on DVD and Blu-ray Feb 19th, the only emotion evoked is that the terror is lurking in the midst of normalcy. For the product to additionally say that this movie is produced by the creative minds of Paranormal Activity and Insidious only kills its potential. Sad to say, according to reports by Bloody Disgusting, a sequel may be in the works.
Either producer Jason Blum or writers Scott Derrickson and C. Robert Cargill can be to blame for injecting far too many clichéd ideas for a mixed genre story. The found footage format really needs a full reinvention if it’s to continue to be an acceptable storytelling medium.
The only thing beautiful about this product is in how Ellison Osborne (Ethan Hawke), a true crimes novelist, finds a box of old 8mm reels with a projector to goad him further to watch the reels. To see a film within a film finally reveals who is masochistic enough to watch a movie about people who have been gruesomely killed. For others, maybe even ask questions about who is the filmmaker morbid enough to record it.
This film offers plenty of expected jump scares. Hawke is in fine form, but the rest of the family and the other supporting characters, namely the Deputy, do not get the needed screen time to demonstrate how the world is revolving around the Osbornes. The Ozzman does not cometh here.
Steven Spielberg knows that a lot of time needs to be spent in seeing how a loving family spends their time together than to keep everyone apart. That was what made Poltergeist truly scary. But when director Scott Derrickson decides that it’s easier to compress the few tender moments the Osbornes have with each other, that’s when this film does not make the grade. Some audiences may not care for what will befall upon the family. When Ethan witnesses just how loved the families had for each other prior to their deaths, little does he know that he’s practicing the opposite of what these 8mm films are preaching, even though they are just home videos.
The family dysfunction is blatantly downplayed to spats between Ellison and his wife. They make up too soon and had there been more of a real life connection; this movie could have been far more believable and even scarier than the legend of a pagan boogeyman who haunts the house. Instead, it goes down a similar path that Insidious made, to offer all the answers all at the wrong time than to make a film go off with a bang.
Hopefully with the video release, there will be a commentary track that will explain why the movie was prolonged than made to come to a full stop at the end.