Here at Behind the Thrills, we love us some Theme Parks. No doubt about it. However, there is a great big world out there, and sometimes we need to take a step out of the parks and look at something else. Join us as we take a look outside of the world of theme parks and into the world of movies, music, television, hotels…pretty much anything else we happen to stumble across.
However whatever we look at will have some relation to the theme park world, granted not directly…but in a round about sort of way.
So join us now as we lift up the harnesses, put down our cup of Butterbeer and take a walk…Offsite.
This week’s Offsite adventure-Sinister on Blu-Ray
Sinister was a movie that I just didn’t get around to seeing in theaters. I wanted to see the movie, but I’m not sure I really wanted to see it theaters. There are just some films that you can’t see in theaters….not because they aren’t good, but you just can’t do it. I’ll get to that later.
Sinister is a horror film without slashers, serial killers and a lot of blood. There are no zombies and the film has a lot of character development. For that reason a lot of gore hounds won’t like it. The film tells the story of a writer that has had huge success with one if his true crime books. In fact his book was so successful that it helped to catch a killer and solve a murder. His books of late haven’t beem doing as well and even sent an innocent man to death. In search for his latest story he moves his family into a house where the previous owners were hung in the tree backyard. He has a daughter who deals with her fathers constant neglect by painting on her walls, and a son who suffers from night terrors due to stress….both of whom immediately are effected by the murder in the house in different ways.
A box of 8mm films is found in the attic and our writer discovers that these films show the families being murdered. They even point to what could be a serial killer. Instead of turning the films into police, he continues research and finds that there are murders at other houses, and weird symbols and even a scary looking man in what appears to be a mask.
We learn that this is a deity called Baaghul-the child eater. He lures children into his realm, but has to convince them to leave willingly.
Ethan Hawke plays the father, Ellison and while on the surdace he seems to have his familys best interest at heart, his real interest becomes the amazing story that unfolds literally in his lap.
The story is great, the acting is well crafted and the direction is done very well…but the places the film takes us are what really matters here.
Horror today is a repetitive walk. Always a maniac, always a twist and turn. While its all entertaining, is it truly horrific? The first couple of times, sure, it can be. Add years and repetition to the mix and the answer is firmly no. We become jaded and the studios see dollars. Sinister’s monster isn’t really scary as a stand alone. It’s not as nonstop as Michael Meyers, or funny like Freddy. There is no knowledge of him like The woman in Black and no sickness like the sicko of the week. He eats children. Plain and simple.
The world is really nasty enough, and unfortunately children suffer a great deal, so it is kind of an unwritten rule that we don’t see gnarly stuff happening to kids. Sinister doesn’t exactly break that rule…but god does it bend it. We don’t see any physical suffering through violence onscreen, but we see the mental anguish that the kids have to go through. First it’s because of dad’s scary subject matter…it triggers the son’s night terrors. The daughter is ignored by dad…so she becomes disillusioned and finds solace in other ways. The whole movie builds on what kind of shit this dad puts his family through. While he is constantly trying to convince everyone that it’s for the good of the family, it’s all about his ego and needing “one more hit”. Even when the creep factor, and jumps scares start emerging on the family and he knows that things are getting bad..he pushes on trying to find out the secret of the killings that happened in his house. It’s this descent into darkness at the expense of the children, and without regard to the children that is the scary part.
And that’s where this film differs from the rest. Sure there is a monster. Sure there are the jump scares, but this movie builds so much atmosphere and so much tension that even though you can see it coming…it still unnerves the hell out of you. It’s scary…but not in the traditional way that you’re used to being scared. It’s this kind of intensity and nervousness that the movie produces that makes it unwatchable in theaters. I had to literally walk away from the film twice…not because it was bad, or it was graphic. It’s not…in fact there’s not a lot of blood on screen at all. It’s just that no matter what the good intentions of the father are, and no matter what precautions he takes…he is the one responsible for what is happening. It’s his fault. It’s those moments that make you realize just how fucked up the movie is…and I just had to stop and take a breather.
This is what made us all fans of horror. It pushed the envelope of what can and shouldn’t be done. There’s the moment in Jurassic Park where Malcolm says “Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should”….that moment is realized on screen, and the whole audience asks “You’re not going to do that are you?”
The film then says “Yeah…and we’re going to fuck you up in the process”.
We need more of that in horror.
Sinister is now on Blu-ray and DVD.