Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, September 10, 2015


SINISTER (2012). Writer/director: Scott Derrickson.

"I'd rather cut my hands off than write a book for fame or money."

Ambitious true-crime writer Ellison Oswalt (Ethan Hawke of Taking Lives and Daybreakers) desperately wants another bestseller, and puts his wife and two children at risk by moving them into a house where an entire family was hung in the backyard. Ellison finds a box full of old super-8 movies and discovers that each reel contains footage of another family being slaughtered (over time in different locations). A deputy (James Ransone) offers to help him in exchange for credit, and puts him in touch with Professor Jonas (Vincent D'Onofrio), who tells him that symbols found at the crime scenes point to a demon named Bughuul, an "eater of children." Then ghosts begin to appear in the house ... Sinister has an excellent premise and is undeniably creepy, although it drags the ending out too much and one wishes it had eschewed the supernatural altogether, but it is what it is. Hawke, Juliet Rylance as his wife, and Fred Dalton Thompson as the sheriff, give very good performances. Much better, and much more disquieting, than the over-rated It Follows.

Verdict: Suspenseful and eerie horror film. ***.

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