Sinister is pretty much everything to hate about modern horror in one mixed bag, a ramshackle teardown of jump-scares and creaky tricks, saw-it-coming "surprises" and the lead-footed thud of inevitability as it tediously places one clumsy foot in front of the other, plodding towards a finale that comes far too late.
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Throughout Sinister, the rooms remain darker than crypts, whether at breakfast or dinnertime, and the sound design causes everything in the house to moan and groan in consort with the hero's worrisome quest. I still can't decide what creaks the most: the floors, the doors, the walls, the dialogue, the acting, or the fatal boughs outside.
The movie makes up for uneven dialogue and pacing issues through sheer horrific imagery.
Occasionally stupid (stretching even fright-flick conventions) but scary nonetheless, the picture should please horror fans.
Derrickson bounces back from his insipid redo of "The Day The Earth Stood Still" with an effective chiller that's got a skeleton or two in its closet.
Hawke's taut performance - lightly parodying his own career doldrums while playing an egotistical hack who's a close cousin of John Cassavetes's self-loathing actor in Rosemary's Baby - is totally credible.
I knew perfectly well, after a while, what Sinister was going to scare me with. But I got scared anyway.
The snuff-porn aesthetic might suggest a realist drama, but a supernatural dimension is brought into play, making the plot directionless. There isn't an ounce of ingenuity in the way the movie is concluded, but some generic expertise in the way it is put together.