Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Sinister: Bughuul (With Cream Cheese...)

Well whadya know, a whole new month. I oughta be ashamed of myself. However, I have spent the better part of this month hounding new job opportunities and pulling my hair out and thus am not responsible for the slacking on the blog posts, as it were.

Now where was I?

Ah, yes.


Don't really know why they picked that title for this flick. Sometimes I feel like directors and script writers reach into a top hat full of scary words and just pick one. Sinister. Slither. Underworld. Suspiria (actually I have no idea what that means...but it sounds scary right?). Scream. So many one-words from which to choose. One-word titles are apparently pretty big. But I digress (as usual). This movie was actually pretty scary.

Now I'm kind of a baby about horror films. Honestly I only saw this one because there was a Q and A with the director and the writer of the film and I thought it would help me ground myself in the reality that there is no actual Boughoul (the Pagan demon in the film that, y'know, eats children's souls, nbd) and that hearing these words from the people in charge of the movie might help. Which it did. Sort of.

Me, sleeping that night

The plot revolves around Ellison, a true crime writer trying to make another best-seller, who moves his family into the house of a recently murdered family. Unbeknownst to them, however, (as no one but Ellison knows the house's history) there is something SINISTER lurking in the attic (see what I did there?). About a day into their new home, Ellison goes up to the attic to store a box there or something and stumbles upon an old box of Super 8 home movies.

You're doing it wrong...

Curious about these films, he begins to play them in his office downstairs, and discovers, to his horror, that they are home videos of entire families being murdered in various ways. Instead of revealing the tapes to the police, though, he decides to keep these films entirely to himself in the hopes of uncovering a murderer as he did in his first book. But as things in his own home get more and more dark, affecting both his psyche and that of his family, you start to wonder what the cost of a bestseller could be.

The film is really expertly constructed (as I realized, of course, after talking to the people that made it) by director Scott Derrickson (The Exorcism of Emily Rose) and writer C. Robert Cargill. Combining the really popular found-film sort of cinema verite with old fashioned thriller horror and even super-scary demon themes, they sort of stumble on a hybrid genre that turns out to be very interesting. Instead of styles like Paranormal Activity, in which the audience is the person watching a lot of found footage, Derrickson and Cargill end up letting you see what happens to a person who has found footage and maybe should never have watched it. Additionally, the bulk of the footage that he finds is extremely disturbing (especially when you find out what the whole films entail at the end--ah!) with blood-curdling soundtracks. Showing you at first happy families about their business with light acoustic, it then jars you out of this happy was-reality with trippy, unnerving music that accompanies families being drowned, stabbed, set on fire, and hanged (as I'm sure a lot of you have already seen in the previews).

Little late for that, buddy

One thing to keep in mind as you are watching this as well, is to consider the double horror that this movie shows you: that you are being watched by something SINISTER (heh hehe...) and that some people will sacrifice the safety of their family to pursue their own dreams.

All in all, very interesting film with interesting themes. Well done, Scott and C. Robert! (I can call them by name cuz I met them and they borrowed my Sharpie and answered a few of my questions. Ya jealous.)

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