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Posted on August 21, 2015

Why Sinister (2012) Is Much better Than Its Reviews Say

Dawn Keetley

Sinister 2 opens today (Friday 21, 2015) and I do not have high hopes for it—which is not a result of my less-than-positive feelings about the first film, released in 2012 and directed by Scott Derrickson. In fact, I think Sinister is a great horror film (in my top ten for 2012), and I disagree with the lukewarm response it earned from critics (only a 62% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes). Indeed, my low expectations for Sinister 2 come precisely from my sense of how good Sinister is.

Sinister is about a true-crime writer, Ellison Oswalt (Ethan Hawke), who moves to the site of a horrendous murder—the owners and two of their three children were hung from the tree in their back-yard and their third child disappeared—in hopes of writing his next best-selling book. He discovers a case of film reels that detail other family murders spanning from the 60s to the 90s, and as he tracks down connections among the killings, he starts to experience strange things in his new house.

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Posted on August 20, 2015

Sinister (2012) Offers an Unintentional Hero


It goes without saying that mothers bear the brunt of blame in horror films. Most often it’s monstrous mothers to blame for allowing evil into the sacred temple of the family home. Sinister is one of the few films centered on the ineffective father. More importantly, it is part of a smaller subsect of horror films that critiques the biological father rather than the interloping step-father. Scholars such as Vivian Sobchack and Tony Williams suggest that the horrific father is often indicative of challenged patriarchal power. If indeed this is correct, then who is challenging the power and why?

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