After moving to a new town, a true-crime writer discovers a cache of videotapes depicting brutal murders that took place in the very house he just bought. As he tries to solve the mystery behind the crimes, a sinister force threatens his own family.
Rating: 8 out of 10
When my wife and I went to opening night, we each were worried our movie experience was ruined before it began. The theater was full of chatty teenagers. But two minutes into this movie, the audience was dead silent — no pun intended. To me, keeping teenagers quiet is the mark of a great horror movie.
To say this is simply a horror movie is selling it short, though. It’s loaded with mystery and breathtaking suspense that is well paced and intelligent. This movie could make some noise at the Golden Globes — but probably not the Oscars. Ethan Hawke propels the movie with a very strong performance of a man whose ego and drive for success puts his family in danger. There are plenty of jump-out-of-your skin moments, but they’re set up with excellent patience by director Scott Derrickson (The Exorcism of Emily Rose). Derrickson shows maturity in directing a truly chilling story that never takes the cheap way out. It’s gruesome at times, but it’s smart. It never shows every bloody detail, which makes it far more frightening.
This is a horror movie, I believe, that crosses genres and appeals to a much wider audience than the teenage crowd who filled the theater where I saw “Sinister.” Think of this movie more like “The Others” or “Seven” than a traditional slasher flick. It’s a fresh new horror tale that’s anything but typical.