Having said that, Sinister is among the best of modern horror cinema, with every scare justified and every scream satisfying.
The story has true crime novelist Ellison, played with restraint (and terrible judgement) by Ethan Hawke. He moves his family into a house previously owned by a family of five, previously because four were found hung in the backyard tree while the youngest is missing.
Shortly after moving in, Ellison finds some films that turn out to be recordings of various murders, whereupon the when-in-God’s-name-will-this-nightmare-stop? dial gets turned up to 13.
Most horror movie protagonists are inherently good human beings with a fatal flaw. In Ellison’s case it’s devotion to the terrible notion you should keep your family in danger if it means solving a case more occult than organic. Ellison won’t win any father of the year awards, but he does get points for having the most entertainingly bad sense of logic in recent memory.
A small thing I really enjoyed was the tension the events cause in Ellison’s marriage. Too often horror movies overlook the relationship between the characters, but this movie pays close attention to a union threatened by events beyond the couple’s control.
The dialogue is awesome, sharp and believeable, with some dark humor peppered throughout for good measure. The conversations between Ellison and the policemen are especially entertaining.
Only gripes are the end feels rushed and then just feels drawn out (you’ll see what I mean) and the completely arbitrary British accent of the wife.