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The Word On ‘Sinister’: It’s Good. Really Good.

I might not be able to catch Sinister this weekend. This is because two dear friends have had the nerve to schedule their wedding at a time that was convenient for them instead of checking with my filmgoing schedule.

This is not, however, going to stop me from passing around a few recommendations. My horror fan friends have all seen this movie since they’re all obsessive preview hunters or caught a midnight showing last night and have given it their seal of approval.

Critics seem to be back and forth on it: It’s got a 50 at Rotten Tomatoes. But I honestly don’t trust mainstream critics when it comes to horror movies. Here are a few reviews I’ve found that seem to encapsulate what pretty much everybody who’s seen it is telling me about the movie.

Gary Thompson, Philadelphia Daily News:

… an unusual and effective score and solid performances from an upscale cast. Hawke’s portrait of mental deterioration is convincing, Fred Thompson is a quietly contemptuous local sheriff, and James Ransone’s bumbling deputy adds comic relief with welcome dimension.

“Sinister” also borrows shrewdly, expanding on the found-footage gimmick in a way that manages to invoke both “Manhunter” and “The Ring.”

Capone, Aint It Cool News, who as a side note is the guy on that site I agree with the most often and is the most… restrained of the critical crew over there:

So is the film scary? I certainly thought so. But what’s most interesting is that the scares are spread apart more than I would have suspected, and what’s put in between is a strong drama that involves Oswalt’s family and his stifled creative process.

If you haven’t figured it out already, SINISTER is simply owned by Hawke’s solid work as a not-always-likable guy who is both trying to protect his family and his career, but the more he fuels his creative juices with these films, the greater the danger becomes. But this is the type of Hawke character that I love–squirrelly, guilty, so sure of his own self-worth that everyone else can go to hell.

Mark Olsen, Los Angeles Times, and a guy who can be hard on horror movies he doesn’t like:

Rather than another drearily workaday horror picture, “Sinister” uses the supernatural to underline its examination of the all-too-human foibles of insecurity and myopic self-centeredness. As the best horror stories so often do, “Sinister” makes clear that we are our own boogeymen, the worst monsters of all.

Surprisingly, the horror press is back and forth as well. Bloody Disgusting hated it, for example. I think a line I found in another review sums up what I’ve been hearing pretty well:

SINISTER isn’t a horror film that happens to be good. It’s a good film that just so happens to be horror.

Hey, once I can get to a theater, sold.

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