Monday, 7 January 2013

Sinister, dir. Scott Derrickson, wr. C. Robert Cargill, Scott Derrickson, st. Ethan Hawke, Juliet Rylance, Fred Thompson, James Ransone

My girlfriend has the habit of coming into the bathroom whilst I'm in the shower, eyes closed and shampooing my hair, and beginning to brush her teeth as she looks in on me through the misted glass. The fact that I... well let's just say it's a good job I'm near running water... does not make her some kind of visionary auteur that's able to meticulously craft fear and suspense. She's just a hack that can physically say 'boo' with her mere presence. But then what is the point of a horror film? Or rather, why have horror films been distilled from heavyweight thematic narratives (The Shining, Angel Heart, The Exorcist) into experimental one-note curiosities (Insidious, Paranormal Activity)? It depends what people want, and I guess these days, cheap scares go further than real cerebral chilling content, both in terms of investment and revenue. Occasionally we get a Cabin In The Woods that seeks to cleverly skew the tropes, knowingly embracing the "Everything Is A Remix" mantra, but these are few and far between. What we are left with in Sinister is another scary under-lit house, a familiar double-voweled pagan deity named Bughuul, and - surprise! - some found footage. True, there're some shocks but nothing that roots any kind of lasting unease. More interesting is the role of children in the film, why we seek to protect them and what we seek to protect them from, but come the final reel, their role is reduced to perfunctory shlock.