Ellison Oswalt is a writer of true crime novels. With his last big hit years behind him, his quest for a repeat performance puts his entire family in danger.
As we follow Oswalt further into his obsessive behaviour to get one more best seller it is Ethan Hawke’s performance that allows us to shake off the more obvious jump scares and be drawn into the film.
The discovered 8mm footage is suitably sinister, as are moments when seemingly innocuous images give away important details. Ellison’s relationship with his wife also comes across well, as their marriage buckles under the strain of his persistence.
So many horror films have me screaming ‘just leave the house!’ at the protagonists, but Sinister’s use of the home as a part of the story avoids this cliché.
I had a preconceived notion that Sinister would be in a similar vein to Insidious, as it involved children and a demon of some kind. Fortunately Sinister’s second half does not fall into the same trap as the James Wan directed affair, and is much more effective for it.
With a few surprises and stronger performances than many a horror film, Sinister may well give you something to think about as you turn off the lights.