WEIRDO’WEEN #25: Sinister [2012]

weirdoween2015In today’s review, we talk about a movie that I remember putting off seeing because it was another haunting film, not to mention it was done by the same people as all the other haunting movies that had come out recently! I told myself that it was going to be generic, and boring. I groaned, but hey, it’s a horror film. Finally, Stephanie and I watched it, and was it not what either of us expected. at all. I was genuinely, and positively surprised.

Without reading the title can you tell what movie I’m talking about? Let me give you a hint: it involves some killer 8mm tapes, and a family who move into a house where a family was murdered. Nothing? Okay, one more hint: a family of five get hung from a tree outside the family home in the very first scene. No? Okay, fine. Today, ladies and gents, we’re talking about none other than Sinister – a movie that even Robert Ebert somewhat enjoyed..and that’s saying something!

weirdo'ween-#25Sinister follows Ellison, a true crime novelist who is looking to publish a new bestseller novel more than ten years after the release of his first hit book, “Kentucky Blood“. Ellison moves his family [his wife and two young kids] into a house that was once the scene of a horrible crime that left a mother, father, and two children dead, with a third child missing! Upon moving in, Ellison finds a box of super 8 films in the attic. On these tapes are the murders of the family who previously lived in his house and four other murders dating back as far as 1966! I mean, talk about a welcoming gift! It seems that the only connection between the murders is a symbol found in all the videos. With his marriage slowly deteriorating and his children’s behavior becoming increasingly strange, Ellison is feels determined to connect the dots and possibly even solve the string of gruesome murders.. Who knows? Plot for a new book, perhaps?

Anyone who is familiar with the popular ‘scary maze game’ online knows how this kind of thing works: even if you know what is going to happen, you will most likely be scared in the moments leading up to the ‘big scare’. You aren’t scared of what is on the screen, but you’re more likely scared of what is about to be. As expected, this is what we could consider the difference between surprising elements and legitimate horror. If the moments leading up to a jump scare are suspenseful, the actual scare is considered “worth it”. Too many horror movies nowadays have worthwhile jump scares. The thing is though, Sinister is not one of those movies. Sure, it has it’s fair share of jump scares, but after the initial shock and fear you feel, you don’t feel better. It’s as if the scares stick with you [in your mind] and you will go back to being just as tense as you were before the scare. It’s use of fear is really well done, and deserves to be recognized as such. It’s a really tense feeling film – and I love it for that reason!

One of my favorite ways Sinister differs from most modern horror movies is that it actually focuses on it’s plot. Scott Derrickson, the Director, spends just as much time focusing on plot development as he does on scaring us, this is something people need to pick up on. Many modern horror films rely on loud noises to almost make it feel like it’s laughing at you, saying “I’m scary cause you jumped!” but is it? Since the characters are more developed and have more depth in Sinister, we can relate to them that much easier. It almost feels like it’s more of a drama film about family relations than it is a horror movie. We learn so much about each individual, that when something is going to happen to them; or actually does..we feel bad, we grow attached to this characters.

Then you get the actual “behind the scenes” stuff. The technical team on this movie really didnt’ miss a beat. The top-notch effects are always key in a film like this, but the common flaw, especially in the horror genre, falls when people end up overdoing it. CGI and post-production “magic” can certainly advance the narrative when it’s needed, but in this film, old school camera effects, which were done while shooting, enhance the believability of the action; as it’s happening!

Cinematographer Chris Norr used a ton of stationary shots and what felt like Hitchcock‘s slow camera pans, to allow the audience to sense the protagonist’s growing paranoia. The occasional subjective POV angle, where the character looks at the camera, effectively makes us, as the viewer, feel like we’re actually  in the scene. It’s a great effect, and added to the fearful feelings of being scared.

also, the main villain – Buhguul – is creepy. I know I didn’t mention much about him, but just know he’s scary, okay? okay.

So check Sinister out if you – like me – ignored it, figuring it’d be a typical horror film. Because in all truthfulness, it’s really not. It’s something more: it’s genuinely terrifying, with each 8mm tape showing us something more and more scary as the film progresses. I’ve read a lot of complaints about the films end, which I guess I get, but come on guys..I feel like that’s what they were going for. I didn’t end up seeing Sinister 2, so maybe that’s where the ending of this film gets explained better? [if you know, let me know in a comment or two!]

Also, If you have an idea for the next weirdo’ween review[s], please let me know which movie[s] you’d like to see next! If you found yourself to enjoy this particular review – and want to see more – then take a minute and follow me over on my Facebook page [it’s at over 120+ likes almost at 130!] By clicking that “like” button, you’ll see every post from warrenisweird the very moment it’s been posted online; as well as links to articles and pictures/videos that will not be featured here on the blog. Every “like” helps me a ton, giving me the ability to write more posts for you to read, so be sure to tell the horror enthusiast in your life to do the same, and share The Facebook Page with your family and friends! Join me tomorrow when I talk about weirdo’ween #26! – so be sure to STAY TUNED!

[and just cause he can, Buugul comes for one final scare at the end of the film! Thanks, pal]



Finally: something new to look at in regards to the highly anticipated sequel to the 2012 sleeper hit horror movie: Sinister. Unlike most people I talk to, I actually enjoyed the first Sinister film, [I even wrote my thoughts about it over here] I loved it’s angles, it’s creepy kids, even Buhguul – he wasn’t like a typical horror monster to me. In my first post about Sinister, I talked about how it would make sense that there would be a sequel, since the 8mm tapes were still in the attic by the end of the film; making the film a cliff-hanger of sorts. Well, in typical horror movie fashion – we’re getting a Sinister II. Finally! Naturally, it’s still early, so we don’t know much though about Sinister II but an important note is that we do know that it’ll appear in theaters on August 21st, with an official trailer debuting on April 9th. [this upcoming Thursday – only two days away!]

kids are still creepy aren’t they?

We have a synopsis as well which proves that this sequel will take place after the first film, without any of the original characters returning. [sorry Ethan Hawke fans!] I don’t want to assume it takes place immediately after the first film, but the story of this sequel is as following:

“In the aftermath of the shocking events in Sinister, a protective mother and her 9-year-old twin sons find themselves in a rural house marked for death as the evil spirit of Buhguul continues to spread with frightening intensity.”

The most important ‘clue’ we have so far about the film is that at WonderCon 2015, we were given a very short clip [roughly 15 seconds long] showing what seems to be expected from the film’s trailer. This clip, courtesy of Blumhouse Productions and Focus Features, reportedly scared the event’s attendees; which I’ll take as a positive reaction! [since we are talking about a horror film] The title card, which is the first picture of this post, was also revealed. Check out the clip that was revealed at the WonderCon below!

Based on what we saw in the clip above, I’m really hoping for the film to be as extreme and as entertaining, as the first Sinister. I say this because: we’re getting a new director, only one of the original writers is returning, and I felt like the clip had something to do with Children Of The Corn! [just me, anyone?] I just hope that the actual trailer shows that it isn’t changing the film’s formula/story. I’m also hoping for more information about Buhguul, and how he’s a Deity of Darkness; kidnapping kids at every opportunity to make them his own.

Of course the real question is how do you feel about a sequel to Sinister? Are you excited? or more concerned for what’s to come next? Let me know in a comment or two, either here, or on Facebook. Now please excuse me, as I prepare to re-watch the first film, since now I want to prepare for the Sinister 2 trailer coming up on Thursday..

Also, if you found yourself to enjoy this piece, please take a minute and head over to Facebook to click the “like” button on my Facebook page. By clicking “like”, you’ll see every post from warrenisweird the very moment it’s been posted. I also share things that will not be featured here on the blog.  So be sure to tell the horror enthusiast in your life to do the same, and share the page with family and friends!


film study: was I the ONLY one who liked “Sinister”?

20141010-091147.jpg I remember when I saw the trailer for Sinister: I was annoyed to all hell that there was another haunting movie coming out. To make it feel worse than I already thought possible, it was produced by the guys that did Paranormal Activity — which I already felt were boring films to begin. [although, the first one was good, for what it was anyway..] Eventually Sinister went to theatres and I just let it slip by, I had absolutely no desire to watch it. Until my birthday later the following year. It’s common knowledge that 90% of the gifts I get during my birthday/Christmas are movies and/or horror memorabilia. One such film I got was Sinister from my father. [be aware, that my father fucking loves the Paranormal Activity/haunting films] I groaned, but it’s a horror film. Finally, Steph and I watched it, and was it not what I expected. [my FULL review of the film should be over on my Letterboxd account] 20141010-093329.jpg I was shocked by the fact that I was actually enjoying this movie, the camera angles, the creepy Buhguul, even the idea of kids killing their families? Although overdone, it felt unsettling; especially with each 8mm tape playing a more disturbed clip [someone even gets run over with a lawnmower in one!] I couldn’t wait to tell everyone about Sinister, and about how wrong I was about it!

Except people already knew; but the twist was that they disagreed with me. I remember when I worked at the theatre and people would come out complain about how “uneventful” the film felt, and the film wasn’t scary like it was told to be. Maybe these were just a few people, but even on my TV screen, it felt fucking insane! Maybe I just need to re-watch it. I know it’s up for a sequel so it couldn’t have been that bad, right? I mean, there has to be a sequel, the tapes were still in the attic by the end credits.. weren’t they?

kids are fucking creepy, am I right?

Ultimately, Sinister was not that bad of a film — I won’t go so far as to say it was the best movie of it’s year, but for a “haunting” film, it was fairly decent. [even iMDB gave it a 6.8/10, so that’s good..right?] Now I turn to you, the readers. Did you see Sinister? Was it really as bad as people thought? Or was it nail bitingly creepy? Lemme know in a comment, or even on Facebook here.