Candi's Corner: Sinister (On DVD)

Sunday, March 24, 2013


I came into the game late with SINISTER. 
Although a self-professed horror movie buff, I didn’t run off to the movies the weekend that Sinister premiered, much less at all. Chalk it up to being more than jaded at the latest slaughter and splatter movies of late. What happened to the psychology of the madman? I found myself looking for horror movies on YouTube, analyzing the emotional state of the debased leading ladies in Miss .45 and Thriller: A Cruel Picture

Time passed, and as if real life wasn’t scary enough, I was suddenly in the mood for Sinister, so I did the usual- YouTube and Rotten Tomatoes check. The tomatometer on Rotten Tomatoes was high, higher than I had ever seen a horror movie rated on the website in a long while! I clicked on YouTube to view some interviews and came across one with its writer, C. Robert Cargill, and his journey from professional film critic to screenwriter. I was transfixed. When I got the Redbox alert on my phone that Sinister had arrived, I was ready. 

The opening scene is fantastic. For those who have yet to see the film, I won’t tell you what it is. But it’s definitely both a fascinating and morbid opener to a movie, leading you into a glimpse of what Ethan Hawke’s character will spend his waking days and nights obsessing about. Ellison Oswalt (Hawke) is a writer, going from town to town with his family in tow, writing stories about crimes and the people who commit them. He’s arrived at another new home where a crime actually happened on its grounds, with his loving, unsuspecting family. He’s told right off the bat from the town sheriff that he should turn around and go back to whence he came. Does he listen? Of course not! There’s a new book to write and Ellison needs money and secretly craves more fame than the one he was granted with from his previous novel.

Within the first twenty minutes of the movie you know something is coming. Is it a ghost? The killer? Both? Obviously, it’s going to be something or someone sinister. Cargill and the film’s director Scott Derrickson know how to build suspense. Ellison finds snuff films in the attic of his new home. Curiosity befalls him and he watches them. His writer’s spidey sense kicks in and he smells his next smash literary hit. He hears weird noises at night and finds his sleepwalking son in a box having yet another night terror. On and on and on the movie goes and we are invited to seeing more snuff film footage, while watching Ellison slowly lose grip of reality. As a writer myself I know what it’s like to have a need to immerse yourself in a story. 7 hours of research, 3 hours of writing, 10 minutes of fame. It’s those 10 minutes that mean everything in the ending of the film and the fragile mentality of Hawke’s character.

There will definitely be a sequel to Sinister, because how could there not be? The ending is positioned nicely to usher in another tale, possibly making a franchise of this film in the way that Saw and Paranormal Activity has done. Sinister is undoubtedly a tale of lust, lust for fame and knowing the truth, even if it may kill you. If you like ghosts, psychological thrillers, fictional stories that could happen in ‘real life’, analyzing what makes people commit crimes, “WTF?” movie endings, and good acting, you’ll love Sinister.

Candace Smith has also contributed the following posts to Tinsel & Tine: The Perks of Being a Wallflower,  Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel, The 18th Annual Critics Choice Awards,

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is about discovering what I find pleasing in screening & eating - in case you missed it, the name is a play on Tinseltown using the Tines of a Fork.

Feel free to send me info on a film or new restaurant you'd like me to highlight.

Will there ever be a cap on movie prices?

Will we one day pay $20 a pop?

Why don't we pay on a scale?

A crap movie like everything Adam Sandler has ever done should cost about $4.50.
Big action movies like"Lord of the Rings", "Iron Man," "Transformers" are worth $10.
Woody Allen movie or something like "Silver Linings Playbook" $6-$7.
A chick flick or light comedy $5.75 and most Indie Films $5.25.

You could even do it by seasons - all summer block busters from May to August - $10
Sept - November 15th $3.50 - $4
Back to $10 for Thanksgiving and Christmas etc...

Or you can do it by A Actors ($9 - $10), B Actors ($6 - $7) TV actors on the big screen ($3.50 - $4)

Surely I'm not the first person to realize this makes sense. Has it been voted on in the Motion Picture Industry and then vetoed? If so, why?

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