Egomaniacal true-crime novelist, Ellison Oswalt, moves his wife and two kids into the house where an unsettling murder involving a family of five has recently taken place. He plans to write about the incident and the missing child, who was apparently spared and kidnapped by the killer, hoping that he can solve the mystery without the help of the local authorities.
As he stores boxes in the attic, he finds several reels of Super 8 film and a projector. Each film contains increasingly graphic and macabre footage of a family being murdered. Upon further inspection, Ellison discovers that a pale, hollow-eyed figure can be seen lurking in the background in each one of the home movies. A pattern begins to emerge, as Ellison becomes consumed with the dark secrets that lie within the films. Further investigation confirms that there are demonic forces at work, and that Ellison may have opened a gateway that has placed his family in danger.
Sinister takes familiar themes and situations and spins them in entirely different directions, making the film unpredictable and highly unnerving as a result. The film score by Christopher Young is almost a character in and of itself. It accentuates the disturbing nature of the film, cranking the scares all the way up to eleven. Ethan Hawke delivers an extraordinarily nuanced performance, and this ranks among some of his best work. The rest of the cast is just as good, under the direction of Scott Derrickson, who pulls absolutely no punches for the entirety of the film. Where most directors would turn away from such material, Derrickson dives right in, creating a cinematic experience that will live forever in your memory.
Sinister is utterly relentless and is not for the squeamish.