Film Review: The Most Scary Film of 2012, ‘Sinister’ is Both a Voyeur’s Heaven & Hell
CHICAGO – We have forgotten what it’s like to be scared by an actually scary movie. “Sinister” – from producer Jason Blum (“Insidious” and all four “Paranormal Activity” films) – is the first film in 2012 to remind us.
More terrifying than “Insidious” and any of the “Paranormal Activity” films, “Sinister” is beautifully diabolical even without trickery. Instead of attempting to earn your fear by being very loosely based on a true story (like “The Possession”) and while steering seriously clear of a flop (like “The Apparition”) that’s as scary as George Bush trying to run our country, “Sinister” remembers what makes hair-raising films actually curdle your blood.
Like “The Shining,” “Misery,” “The Exorcist” and “Jaws” played on people’s mental fears without fancy effects as patchwork for weak material, the modern-day “Sinister” captures the most scary element of “The Ring” and “The Cabin in the Woods”: voyeurism.
|Read Adam Fendelman’s full review of “Sinister”.|
Joss Whedon’s “Cabin” terrified audiences by allowing us to watch another audience within the movie that’s watching yet another audience within their own reality TV-like movie. And Gore Verbinski’s psychologically taut “The Ring” mastered sound and real-life imagery to ultimately make us afraid of a simple phone call or a television’s white noise.
“Sinister” even does what J.J. Abrams’ “Super 8” couldn’t come remotely close to: using the celluloid format of Super 8-millimeter film so moviegoers can see star Ethan Hawke’s nightmare evolve into full throttle. By watching him watch the past and attempt to solve the true crime of a possible serial killer, it’s easy to believe, be afraid of and get engrossed in.
Image credit: Summit Entertainment