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DVD review: Sinister

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Studio Synopsis: Ten years ago, true crime writer Ellison Oswald (Hawke) made his reputation with a best-selling account of a notorious murder.  Now, desperate to replicate the success of his first book, he moves his family into a home where the previous occupants were brutally executed and a child disappeared, hoping to find inspiration in the crime scene. In the home, Ellison discovers a cache of terrifying home movies, unwittingly opening the door into a nightmarish mystery.

Studio: Summit Entertainment
Running Time: 110 minutes
Rating: R
Number of Disks: 1

Special Features:

  • Audio commentary with director Scott Derrickson
  • Audio commentary with writers Scott Derrickson and C. Robert Cargill
  • Living in a House of Death Featurette
  • True Crime Authors Featurette
  • Deleted Scenes: With optional audio commentary with director Scott Derrickson

dvd review sinister coverjpg 300x401 DVD review: Sinister Like any mainstream horror film worth its weight in conventional carnage, “Sinister” prerequisites its viewers with a challenge to abandon their inhibitions and just let the film flow over you like so much bloodied matter. And while Hawke brings with him an air of apt atmosphere and legitimate dread cred, marks are indeed missed as the unadventurous events unfold. It seems that throughout a certain aspect run the same distasteful demons haunt any vehicle willing to take on snuff films as a component. Films like 1997’s “The Brave” and 1999’s “8mm;” just to name two, never met with much cumulative acclaim, even with heavy hitters Johnny Depp and Nocolas Cage starring respectively in them. And such is the case with “Sinister” throughout. Because while the film has elements worthy of uniqueness praise, no amount of charismatic players or kitschy niches has ever come close to successfully masking the tied-to-real-life horrors these snuff films embody. One would think that this medium would shoehorn well with the shock and schlock of the horror genre, with its sordid subject matter and readymade realism. But in the case of “Sinister” as with so many predecessors before it…one would be wrong. Director Scott Derrickson chimes in on two spot on commentaries, both of which top the extras menu. Focusing almost exclusively on the technical aspects of filmmaking and writing – one is a directors commentary and one is a writers commentary – Derrickson constructs two features targeted to the technically inclined, cutting through all the “they were great to work with” clatter to spotlight two exacting elements. The remaining features spotlight the real life situations surrounding the elements of the film, including brief looks and insights from the true crime authors that work in the genre and a few real locations that have been exposed to similar horrific acts found in the film. A handful of deleted scenes with additional commentary from Derrickson are also included. So with a cache of conventional horror fluff and the unsettling addition of films labeled Snuff, “Sinister” promises a title that’s right on the money, but an execution and premise that may not make it much.

Additional Resources:
Central Cast: Ethan Hawke | Juliet Rylance | Fred Dalton Thompson | Michael Hall D’Addario | Clare Foley
Director: Scott Derrickson
Central Writers: Scott Derrickson | C. Robert Cargill
Theatrical Release: October 12, 2012
Blu-Ray/DVD Release: February 19, 2013
Genre: Horror | Mystery | Thriller
Supporting Cast and more Writers found HERE

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