It’s all “found footage” movies in the horror genre it seems ever since Paranormal Activity succeeded in becoming a mega-success. At least, that’s how it appears. The latest project in this subgenre? Sinister, by the producers of Insidious and… Paranormal Activity! And still. Sinister has just enough twists to remain original, even though we also see influences from The Ring coming back. Indeed, that Japanese horror movie that made quite the splash a few years ago.
Ethan Hawke is Ellison Oswalt, a writer who delivered a best-seller when investigating a real murder but since then has been looking for the next success. His two sequels have done all but great and his reputation of putting up a less than positive image of the police force hasn’t helped him much either.
When a family is found hanging on a tree and one of the kids is still missing, Ellison is convinced this might be the case he’s been waiting for. Together with his wife and daughter they move to the village the murders happened. What his family doesn’t realise, however, is that they’re actually moving into the crime scene. No worries though as Ellison quickly throws himself at his work and when he finds a box labelled “Home Movies” in the attic he decides to not give these to the police as possible evidence, but rather keeps them for himself as they might come in handy for his research. And of course he shouldn’t have done that.
He quickly finds out that the murder in the house wasn’t the first one and that the movies contain murders from other homes as well. However, he’s so obsessively busy with his investigation that he doesn’t realise his family is slowly falling apart, and when he finally does realise his wife and child are in great danger, it may very well be too late…
As said, Sinister does things a bit different from most “found footage” movies in such a way that we see how Ellison gets carried away by what he found and just like in The Ring it works quite well. The more Ellison watches the movies, the more weird stuff starts happening in the house and tension starts to rise. Towards the end you sorta have an idea of where things are going, but it’s luckily not as predictable as the usual horror movie and the acting of the cast helps to transfer the feeling of unease over to the audience.
Sinister may be “found footage”, combined with The Ring, the end result works well and therefore we can easily suggest this one to any fan of tension-filled thrillers with some horror elements entangled (it’s not so gory as you might expect).
Qua image we can say that the “home movies” are bad but we didn’t expect anything else. It makes the normal movie image stand out and that’s nearly perfect. Detail is great, even in dark scenes, skin color is natural, contrast is as it should be, and compression errors are completely absent.
Horror depends a lot on atmosphere and that means we need a more than decent soundtrack. Also here Sinister doesn’t disappoint. The dialogues are always crystal clear and the effects nicely come to the front when needed. The scary moments are perfectly supported by the necessary high shreeks and the low basses whenever a bounce happens somewhere in the house. This transfer is excellent.