The fear is faced by one person, and he's very slow to get alarmed over the things that go bump in the night and the boogeyman he thinks he catches a glimpse of, many times.
But Ellison Oswalt (
And even as he is shocked at the images of mass drownings, group throat-slittings and immolation, and the pale satanic figure that turns up in reflections, in shadows and in the bottom of a pool in those old silent 8 mm movies, he doesn't recoil and flee the house where his boy has night terrors, his daughter is doing strange drawings on the wall and his wife (a fierce Juliet Rylance) wonders what's going on.
"This could be my 'In Cold Blood'!" Ellison insists. It'll be a hit book, make them rich and give them "that happy ending" that he longs for. Right.
Since a lot of his noisy, plainly supernatural encounters happen in the dark of night, you'd think that A) the rest of the family would be awakened by this racket unless B) this horror is happening inside his head, a la "The Shining."
Since Ellison tends to belittle law enforcement in his books, the local sheriff (
Logical lapses aside, "Sinister" telegraphs its punches, letting the viewer mentally count down the seconds until the next, obvious cheap jolt or hair-raising flicker of what's "out there." We can time how long it will be before someone — a researcher (
Still, a tip of the hat to sound designers Marc Aramian and Dane Davis, who concocted a static-filled, scratchy old music-loop aural milieu for this spookiness. The silent movies are chillingly scored with their effects and Christopher Young's music.
If "Sinister" looked and played as insidiously as the soundtrack suggests, they'd have had something — another
'Sinister' -- 1 1/2 stars
MPAA rating: R (for disturbing violent images and some terror)
Running time: 1:49