Sinister - Blu-ray Review - Home Theater Forum and Systems - HomeTheaterShack.com

Reply
 
Thread Tools
post #1 of 11 Old 02-22-13, 04:34 PM Thread Starter
HTS Moderator
Reviewer
 
Mike Edwards's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Tucson, AZ
Posts: 4,977
My System
Sinister - Blu-ray Review


Title: Sinister

Movie:
Video:
Audio:
Extras:


HTS Overall Score:84




Summary
Horror movies and I have a love/hate relationship. I love to watch them, but I absolutely hate most of them. It seems that 99% of horror movies are either torture fests or just plain not scary in any way shape or form. I think it’s a common scenario among the horror community. We’ve become so jaded that very little can please us anymore and the industry has turned to rolling out slop title after slop title both theatrically and direct to home video. Very rarely do I go into a horror film and come out truly creeped out.

Horror movies involving a terrorized and reclusive writer have been done before, think “The Ninth Gate”, “Secret Window” and let’s not forget the most famous of them all “The Shining”. Some have done well and others tanked badly. Luckily for us Director Scott Derrickson crafts a very well done horror/thriller that is filled with subtlety, misdirection and a unique twist on the craft. You can guess one or two of the twists and turns in the movie, and even recognize a few of the classic jump scares, but that doesn’t take away from the actual fright or uneasy feeling that a true horror movie invokes upon the viewer.

Our Story begins with Ellison Oswalt (Ethan Hawke), a true crime writer, moving into the home where a grisly quadruple murder had been performed. Ellison had written a true crime smash hit 10 years ago, but his latest true crime stories appeared to have fizzled with the public and left a sour taste in law enforcement’s mouth regarding his intentions. Ellison is now desperate for a hit, lying to himself and his family, he’s here for one thing and one thing only, to solve this murder and write a book that will shoot his out of this slump and into stardom once more. His wife Tracy (Juliet Rylance) and their two children have no idea that the home they just moved into is the location for this ghastly murder. Finding a set of “snuff” tapes that date back to the 1960’s, Ellison starts piecing together the facts and comes to the conclusion that his location may be only one in a string of ritualistic serial killings. Digging deeper and deeper into the films he starts to unravel, coming closer and closer to that abyss where the mind starts to slip and actually starts believing some of the things he sees in those super 8 tapes. Tracy, seeing her husband start to unravel does everything she can do to draw her husband away, to have him abandon this quest for power and fame and come back to them both in mind and body.

Now, being that this is a movie where spoiling any more of the plot would take away from the scares and suspense, I’ll end my synopsis there. “Sinister” has done what few horror movies since the 80’s has done, and that is to truly leave me creeped out and unsettled. There is very little graphic violence at all, but that is where the beauty of it lies. A true horror movie attacks the mind and the subconscious, its goal isn’t to shock and disgust you with blood flying out the window, but to subtly slide under your skin and nestle there. “Sinister” DOES have its flaws mind you, there are some very stereotypical jump scares, and we’ve all seen the boogie man in the dark before, but it handles it so effortlessly and comes at it in a way that hasn’t been previously delved into so finally we get to see something fresh and exciting in the horror genre.

Ethan plays the obsessed writer to a T. Never over the top or wildly crazy, ala Jack Nicholson, the audience gets to watch the transformation from seemingly caring husband and father, to a man torn apart by his own failures and that insatiable lust for the fame and glory that lures and tempts us all. His children are by far the best children I’ve seen in a horror movie recently, too often we are stuck with children who can’t seem to act their way out of a paper bag and are more of a stiff caricature of a child, rather than that natural bubbly childlike personality we see in real life. Trevor and Ashley are both extremely talented for their age and were able to actually BE children in the film instead of just PLAY at being children, never once did I roll my eyes, like I so often do in the movies, at the poor performances and lack of any emoting done on the child’s part. Instead we see true personalities emerge and even true fright translated onto film.


Rating:

Rated R for some disturbing violent images and some terror.



Video

Let me say right off the bat, “Sinister” is a VERY VERY dark movie. A HUGE portion of the film is filmed either in the dark or in a dimly lit house, with sporadic day shots. As a result the film suffers just a little bit with some overly dark scenes that tend to wash away the detail. Surprisingly, very little black crush, mostly just scenes that are so dark that you just can’t see as much detail as could have been shown. HOWEVER, close ups and light scenes show incredible detail and clarity. “Sinister” was shot on digital cameras so there is no film grain and surprisingly zero digital noise that I could detect. Colors are a bit pushed towards the yellow end of the spectrum and it tinges the film a bit. Flesh tones and surroundings appear very natural overall and there don’t appear to be any artifacting whatsoever. I didn’t see any compression artifacts or the effects of such nasty digital manipulations such as DNR or aliasing. I would give “Sinister” a higher video score if it were not for the fact that all the dark dark scenes made viewing a bit harder at times.






Audio

The audio, on the other hand, was well done and a slight step above the video. Summit Entertainment has given us an exceptional 7.1 DTS-HD MA track for our auditory enjoyment. Subtle and impactful, I was highly impressed with the track’s range; switching from a typical horror movies jump scare tactics to very subtle and creepy at the drop of a hat. The dynamic range was off the charts, the quiet whispers and creaks of the surrounding spooky house was as quiet and subdued as could be, only to have the silence broken by a thunderous crash or a loud scream that was loud enough to wake the neighbors. While having an excellent range the track was never out of balance and the vocals were crisp and clear as could be. The score was probably the real shining star here, creating a creepy and visceral mood that keeps the audience on the edge of their seats the whole time. Surrounds are used very well, from the quiet creaking of boards to the whirling sounds of a crash as Ethan Hawke falls through a ceiling. LFE was impressive and very aggressive for this type of movie. Relegated to not only jump scares it kept a deep low end throughout the entire film giving the movie an almost “pulsing” feel of deep sonic bombardment.



Extras:
• Audio Commentary with Director Scott Derrickson
• Audio Commentary with Writers Scott Derrickson and C. Robert Cargill
•True Crime Authors
• Living in a House of Death
• Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary by Scott Derrickson









Overall:

Creepy and definitely unique, I give “Sinister” a very solid thumbs up. Sure it has its faults and gets a little rough in spots, but it is very rare that a horror film has ever creeped me out and sent chills down my spine like “Sinister” has. While the ending has turned a lot of people on the net off to it, I find it to be chilling and a truly satisfying (albeit disturbing) end to a movie that couldn’t have ended any other way. Just be aware that you MAY have to tweak the contrast settings of your TV due to the excessive dark scenes, but that should in no way deter you from watching an excellent horror movie. Highly recommended


Additional Information:

Starring: Ethan Hawke, Juliet Rylance, James Ranson
Directed by: Scott Derrickson
Written by: Scott Derrickson, C. Robert Cargill
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 AVC
Audio: ENGLISH: DTS-HD MA 7.1, English DD 2.0, Spanish DD 5.1
Studio: Summit Entertainment
Rated: R
Runtime: 110 minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: February 19th, 2013


Buy Sinister Blu-ray on Amazon

Recommendation: Watch It!


More about Mike

Last edited by Mike Edwards; 02-22-13 at 11:53 PM.
Mike Edwards is online now  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 11 Old 02-22-13, 10:24 PM
HTS Moderator
 
ALMFamily's Avatar
Joe
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 7,209
My System
Re: Sinister - Blu-ray Review

Thanks for the review Mike!

A pass for me - horror films and I just do not mesh well. Probably something to do with my mom making me watch The Night Stalker when I was young.
ALMFamily is offline  
post #3 of 11 Old 02-22-13, 11:31 PM
Elite Shackster
 
JBrax's Avatar
Jeff
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Kansas City, MO
Posts: 4,127
My System
Finally going to watch this one in about an hour. Still waiting for the better half to get home.
JBrax is offline  
post #4 of 11 Old 02-23-13, 12:55 AM
HTS Hillbilly
HTS Administrator
 
Sonnie's Avatar
I'm a redneck!
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: L.A. (Lower Alabama)
Posts: 22,554
My System
Re: Sinister - Blu-ray Review

Just from watching the previews I think this would be a bit too much for me.

You know I thought I could handle scary/jumpy type movies, but I found out a while back that I was just too weak.

I prefer to be able to sit still in my seat and not make any sudden moves or sounds in fear of pulling a muscle or scaring my own self again with a big yelp. What can I say... I am a wimp.

Cedar Creek Cinema

PremierHomeAudio: Denon, Marantz, Onkyo, Yamaha, Sony, Pioneer, Def Tech and more. Shoot me a PM!
Sonnie is offline  
post #5 of 11 Old 02-23-13, 01:06 AM
Elite Shackster
 
asere's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: TEXAS
Posts: 2,597
My System
Quote:
Sonnie wrote: View Post
Just from watching the previews I think this would be a bit too much for me.

You know I thought I could handle scary/jumpy type movies, but I found out a while back that I was just too weak.

I prefer to be able to sit still in my seat and not make any sudden moves or sounds in fear of pulling a muscle or scaring my own self again with a big yelp. What can I say... I am a wimp.
Too funny! Just watched it with my wife and she watches it but covers her ears because the sound scares her too much!
asere is online now  
post #6 of 11 Old 02-23-13, 04:35 AM Thread Starter
HTS Moderator
Reviewer
 
Mike Edwards's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Tucson, AZ
Posts: 4,977
My System
Re: Sinister - Blu-ray Review

Quote:
Sonnie wrote: View Post
Just from watching the previews I think this would be a bit too much for me.

You know I thought I could handle scary/jumpy type movies, but I found out a while back that I was just too weak.

I prefer to be able to sit still in my seat and not make any sudden moves or sounds in fear of pulling a muscle or scaring my own self again with a big yelp. What can I say... I am a wimp.
lol, the ironic part of this was when I was reviewing the film I watched with a buddy who had already seen it in the theaters. With all good "friends" he very new all the "jump" scenes and would reach out and grab my leg or arm at the perfect moment.... I swear I levitated off the couch about 3 times
Mike Edwards is online now  
post #7 of 11 Old 02-23-13, 05:01 AM
Elite Shackster
 
JBrax's Avatar
Jeff
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Kansas City, MO
Posts: 4,127
My System
Very good movie although I think the ending could have been better. Video as Mike noted was very dark and I really felt the need to turn the brightness up. Audio was outstanding and several times found myself looking over my shoulder. All in all worthy of a rental but maybe not a buy.
JBrax is offline  
post #8 of 11 Old 02-24-13, 10:04 AM
Senior Shackster
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 575
Re: Sinister - Blu-ray Review

Between this one and all the "lost Footage" horror movies around now, I thought this one was quite good with the different take on what is still considered "Lost Footage" horror genre.
ericzim is offline  
post #9 of 11 Old 02-26-13, 10:50 AM
Senior Shackster
Mike
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Columbia SC
Posts: 695
My System
Re: Sinister - Blu-ray Review

Great review! This was one of the few movies that I went to see in the theaters last year and I LOVED it. if you are a fan of good horror movies this is a must have!

I could not agree more with this "A true horror movie attacks the mind and the subconscious, its goal isn’t to shock and disgust you with blood flying out the window, but to subtly slide under your skin and nestle there." and that is exactly what you get with Sinister
typ44q is offline  
post #10 of 11 Old 02-26-13, 02:31 PM
Elite Shackster
 
phillihp23's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Auburn, WA
Posts: 1,124
My System
Re: Sinister - Blu-ray Review

Good flick, considering i'm not much of a paranormal horrror film guy. It had a solid story line and was creepy in ways other than random blood shed and shaky film.

Home Theater System Denon AVR4520CI, Emotiva XPA-5 Gen 2, Polk CSi A6 Center, Polk RTi A9 Front, Polk RTi A7 Front Wide, Polk RTi A1 Front Height, Polk FXi A6 Side, Polk RTi A3 Rear, SVS PB12-NSD x2 Front, SVS PC12-NSD x2 Rear, Panasonic PT-AE7000U, Visual Apex CineWhite 100" Screen, PS4, Dish Hopper, Darbee Darblet DVP 5000.My Home Theater Build http://www.hometheatershack.com/foru...ter-build.html
phillihp23 is offline  
Reply

Bookmarks

Tags
bluray , review , sinister

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now




PLEASE COMPLETE ALL REQUIRED FIELDS BELOW... THANKS!

REQUIRED FIELDS ON THIS PAGE
YOU MUST COMPLETE ALL OF THESE

Username
Password
Confirm Password
Email Address
Confirm Email Address
Random Question
Random Question #2




User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
PLEASE READ BELOW PRIOR TO ENTERING AN EMAIL ADDRESS!

ATTENTION!

YOU MUST ACTIVATE YOUR ACCOUNT!

Activation requires you reply to an email we will send you after you register... if you do not reply to this email, you will not be able to view certain areas of the forum or certain images... nor will you be able download software.

AN INVALID EMAIL ADDRESS WILL CAUSE YOUR ACCOUNT TO BE DELETED!

See our banned email list here: Banned Email List

We DO NOT respond to spamcop, boxtrapper and spamblocker emails... please add @hometheatershack DOT com to your whitelist prior to registering or you will get nowhere on your registration.


Email Address:
OR

Log-in









Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.


Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page



Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML is not allowed!
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

 


For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome