SINISTER (movie review)

It’s kind of refreshing when a new horror movie has genuinely suspenseful scenes and some truly decent scary moments.

sinister

Such is the case with Sinister, the 2012 supernatural horror thriller from Jason Bloom, the producer of the Paranormal Activity films and Scott Derrickson, the writer-director of The Exorcism of Emily Rose.  Deliciously creepy and had me on the edge of my seat more than once.

OK, here’s the deal… Ethan Hawke plays a true crime novelist who moves into a house that was the scene of a gruesome multiple murder. He discovers a box of mysterious, disturbing homemade snuff movies that plunge his family into a nightmarish experience of supernatural horror. The more the writer discovers about the horrific murders, the more the evil entity behind it all grows and becomes stronger.

Mayhem ensues… when the supernatural ritual/serial killer starts taking over the writer, the house and his family.

Found footage, 8mm film, digital videos, photos, hallucinations, sleep walking, night terrors, writer in a new home looking at some old images and going nuts because a supernatural evil is taking over the place (think The Shining), the impending doom of someone who has watched the wrong movie (think The Ring). Yes, Sinister does incorporate many elements from previous movies but it still manages to put together a scary tale that is sure to give you more than a few  goosebumps.

RottenTomatoes.com gives Sinister a 63% freshness rating. Normally, this is, to me, a bad sign. If a movie has a high rating, I usually love it. If it has a really low rating, I usually love it. I rarely enjoy movies that get the equivalent of a C average. Sinister is an exception. Ethan Hawke is very good as the writer. The horror atmosphere of the movie is almost always dark. Literally. Even when the lights are on, the house seems to be shrouded in darkness. [1]

I do have to admit that the ‘evil supernatural force’ schtick is a bit stupid but you can’t have everything.

My two cents… Sinister is by no means a great horror movie. It’s more creepy than scary. But if you want something to get the old ticker going, this may be the one for you.

Bottom line… Perfectly decent popcorn horror movie. Great to watch with a gf/bf/date [1] who appreciates a good scare,

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[1] And while we’re on the subject, why doesn’t anyone in this film turn on the lights when they walk into a dark room? Seriously, for the whole movie people are stumbling around in the dark for no reason.

[2] Speaking of dates, I am most likely dating myself with the use of the word ‘date.’ Does anyone date anymore? Please advise.

Creepy Girls (16): Suspension (part 2)

I ran into these images the other day which fit into a certain theme in macabre photographs… girls floating or suspended.

I dealt with this subject in a post last year.

levitate
Sometimes, as in the image above, you see the entire body levitating for no apparent reason.

As in most of these kinds of images, the faces are rarely seen. Either the hair falls in front of the face, or as in the photograph below, the face is hidden behind something.

suspended-4

Often times, the entire body is not seen. Only a part is shown, hovering above the ground or floor.

suspended-3

Bare feet are quite common but, as in the first photo above, not universal.

Are they held up by some supernatural force? Usually. Are they hanging on or from something? Sometimes. More often than not, that is left to the viewer’s imagination.

All seem to evoke a feeling of unease and discomfort.

In other words… they’re creepy.

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The Twilight Saga – NEW MOON: The Second Level of Hell

Last week, after years of putting it off, I watched the movie “Twilight.”

This week, I watched the second in the Twilight Saga series, “New Moon.”

(New Moon – DVD cover)

Once again, I did not burst into flames nor did blood spurt from my eyes.

OK, here it goes (as per the DVD blurb)…

The romance between mortal Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) and vampire Edward Cullen (Robert Pattison) grows more intense as ancient secrets threaten to destroy them. When Edward leaves in an effort to keep Bella safe, she tests fate in increasingly reckless ways in order to glimpse her love once more. But when she’s saved from the brink by her friend Jacob Black (Taylor Lodner), Bella will uncover mysteries of the supernatural world that will put her in more peril then ever before.

Mayhem ensues when… Bella acts like a self-destructive idiot and the supernatural shit starts to hit the fan. As Michael Dequina of TheMovieReport.com observes, “Ostensible heroine Bella is such a weak, needy, pathetic co-dependent who stirs up so much sh*t for those she purportedly loves that it’s hard to muster much rooting interest for her.” Well put.

Simon Miraudo of Quickfliks goes further, describing New Moon as having “excruciatingly lazy storytelling, atrocious performances, listless direction and a core storyline that is both uninteresting and somewhat disturbing.”

RottenTomatoes.com gave it a 28% on the ‘freshness scale.’

My two cents… this movie moves at a glacial pace and is painfully long – a deadly combination in any movie. Add to it the   downcast tone of the film and you get a long, slow downer. Who wouldn’t love that? Well, apparently, may do.  Die-hard Twilight fans will not be disappointed because… well… they have a lot of emotional investment in the franchise already and bring a lot of enthusiasm with them. And New Moon gives them what they want… lots of torturous, self-centred teen angst. Lots of pining and yearning and sexless frustration. Lots of relentlessly shirtless hunky guys.

(The Volturi)

There is one tiny bit of fun that I thoroughly enjoyed. Dakota Fanning as the red-eyed Jane, a member of the Volturi… a kind of vampyre aristocracy that both rules and enforces the law. It’s rather a small part I but had a good time during those scenes.

Bottom line… This movie isn’t about vampyres and werewolves. It’s a ‘woe is me’ lament about the pain of abstinence because your mind is telling you “no, no, no” but your body is telling you “yes, yes, yes!” As for your heart… well… it’s way too busy being whipped and flogged while chained to the bed to care.

Next stop… The Twilight Saga: ECLIPSE! And may G-d have mercy on my soul.

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Creepy Girls (11): Reflections

As I peruse the various macabre images of creepy girls, there is one subset that never fails to give me goosebumps.

Mirrors.

Or more precisely the horrible things contained therein.

Sometimes the girls seem oblivious to what is going on in the mirror.

Is the mirror reflecting something within the girl?

Or is it a view from a different reality…

…one trying to make its way into our world?

I don’t like mirrors. I try to avoid them when I can.

I’m always afraid of what I will see.

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TWILIGHT (the movie): The First Level of Hell

Well, I finally did it.

After having it sit on my computer shelf for almost a year, I finally slapped the DVD of Twilight into the old puter and fired it up.

As I did so, my Catholic school upbringing welled up inside me, bringing with it a half-forgotten snippet of prayer to my lips. “Libera Nos a Malo![1]

As you’ve probably pieced together by now, I did not burst into flames upon watching Twilight nor did blood spurt from my eyes.

It’s not a great movie. It is not really a good one, either. But I don’t think it deserves all the crap heaped on it over the last few years.

It’s not horrible. It is not wretched. It did not make me want to pull my head off.

It did make me frustrated and upset. Not because it is insipid and tiresome and BORING (which it is) but because of what it does to my beloved vampyre lore. That is what really kills me about Twilight. An entire generation of young people growing up with this decaffeinated espresso vampyre image.

(Toute la fang gang!)

Sparkling? Doesn’t feed from humans? 100 years old and still hasn’t gotten over the tortured teen angst thing.

Really? Seriously??

What’s the effen point!? Who wants a sanitized, toothless vampyre?

Apparently, lots of people! And that is the sad part of Twilight.

People who’ve drunk only orange-flavoured pop or eaten only margarine think they have an idea of what orange or butter taste like. But those of us who have tasted real freshly squeezed orange juice and real fresh butter can only shake our heads and pity them. They think they know.. but they SO don’t.

I guess that’s what Twilight made me feel most of all. Pity.

Yeah, I guess that’s it.

I don’t hate Twilight fans. I pity them. I feel sorry for them… for all those poor misguided souls who read the books and watch the movies and think they know what the world of vampyres is really like.

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[1] From the Pater Noster. A supplication to the Almighty to “Deliver Us from Evil!”

Creepy Girls (3): The ‘Cousin It’ Effect

It is a not-uncommon effect used in horror movies and photos of a macabre nature.

A girl with her face completely covered by her hair.

(The ghost of Samara Morgan – The Ring)

The most famous example is probably Samara’s ghost in the 2002 movie The Ring (based on the 1998 Japanese horror movie, Ringu).

(The ghost of Sadako Yamamura – Ringu)

It isn’t complicated. It requires no special effects or computer graphics.

A girl standing still, arms down at her sides, head slightly bowed forward, her face completely covered by long hair.

And yet each time I see that image, I get the chills.

Even when I remind myself of silly Cousin It from The Addams Family, it doesn’t help dispel that deeply disquieting sensation I experience each time I see it.

So here’s to you, creepy ‘Cousin It’ girls!

Long may you continue to inspire goosebumps in all of us!