Better than the Real Thing: Sinister

During October, I’m always on the lookout for new (or old) horror films to watch. I scour the Best Horror Movie lists and look for the “scariest” films I haven’t seen or ones that I have overlooked. I’m generally not much of a horror fan, but with Halloween around the corner, it’s always fun to get into the spirit – even if every best-of list only includes the usual suspects of Halloween, The Exorcist, Rosemary’s Baby, etc.

Sinister is the latest film in a resurrection of haunted house cinema that began (arguably) with Paranormal Activity. It’s a solid, if not great, addition to the horror genre with some genuinely creepy moments – mostly courtesy of 8mm snuff films. Ethan Hawke stars as a true crime writer looking to write a book that recaptures the acclaim and promise of his first best-seller. So he does what all desperate writers (and deal-finding homebuyers) do: he buys a house that’s recently been the scene of a horrific family murder. Oh, and he doesn’t tell his wife or kids about the house’s history. Charming, that.

The concept of Sinister reminded me of Insidiousa relatively recent horror film that I quite enjoyed – but after seeing the trailer of this film, the effectiveness of it is neutered. That’s why Sinister is the latest to join the halls of the Better than the Real Thing catalogue – where watching the trailer is better than watching the feature-length film. I would even go as far to say that had I not seen the trailer before seeing the film, it would still be a more frightening experience than the actual film itself. The actual movie may be creepier (that pesky 8mm footage creeping up again) but the trailer is scarier. Check it out below.


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