Wednesday, March 20, 2013

3 Short Paragraphs: Sinister

2012, Scott Derrickson (The Day the Earth Stood Still)

If you really don't want to know the twists and turns of this movie that any horror fan will see a mile away, beware spoilage below.

Yes, he did the Keanu version, not the original.  This time round, Derrickson is doing another found footage movie, but no, not that kind... it actually has found footage and it plays as much a character as the family in jeopardy.  Ethan Hawke, the washed up writer, has moved his willfully oblivious family into the home where, not so long ago, an entire family was murdered in their own back yard.  Stupid huh?  Not the plot, the writer.  It sets the desperate tone for Hawke's Oswalt.  He needs this true crime book to be successful, no matter the danger to his family or his own life. With whiskey fueled stupidity he watches previous family murders, left for him to consume.

We start with the assumption that the killer is manipulating Oswalt.  We are not wrong.  But its not a serial killer who plays with the minds of his next victim before slaughtering them along with their family.  No, based on the black metal character hiding in the shadows of the 8mm film, its a boogie man.  And not just any boogie man, but the original Babylonian demon god, consumer of children and apparently fan of bad heavy metal.  Bughuul needs the souls of children willing to kill their family and while he is playing with Oswalt, Boogie is also manipulating his daughter to be the next star of his films. And maybe if Oswalt hadn't been down downing bottle after bottle and revealed a bit more of his suspicions, he might not be recorded for the potential sequel.

But despite some downright creepy spirit filled scenes meant entirely for us, not so much as eliciting a raised hackle in the protagonist, this was a scream at the screen by the numbers stupid actions horror movie.  Turn on some fucking lights !!  Seriously, if I ever buy a creepy 70s ranch or Victorian mansion, I am installing giant halogen lights all on a single switch.  One creepy sound and FLASH no shadows left anywhere, not in the basement, not in the attic.  And just to contradict myself entirely, I rather enjoyed it all.  It could have been a plot line from the show Supernatural, if any heroes had been present, perhaps a good idea for the sequel in which Opie the deputy sheriff figures out what happened and is stopping the next film from being produced.  Add in a flashie magic dagger to kill Boogie and we will be good.