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  1. #1
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Default Sinister (and further discussion on what makes horror work)

    I saw this movie this evening. Somewhat mixed feelings.

    I actually have a soft spot in my heart for Derrickson, who did The Exorcism of Emily Rose a few years back, which is based on the real-life exorcism of Annelise Michele over in Germany. An anthropologist wrote a book about the exorcism, explaining in part how it seemed to be a socio-psychological thing where the actual exorcism ritual reinforced/strengthened particular brainwaves that would have enabled this girl to overcome some psychological issues she was experiencing... and I was rather amazed that this anthropologist was incorporated as an actual character into the movie. But the other thing I remember about the picture is that the director had a decent feel for atmosphere and unsettling imagery.

    In Sinister, a true crime writer moves his family (unbeknownst to them, which as you can imagine might really piss off his wife at some point) into a murder house so as to inspire/aid him in writing a book about it. Unfortunately he gets more than he bargains for, when he finds a box of Super 8 movie reels up in the attic... the contents (labeled in a fashion that seems innocent but is actually deliciously ironic) of which weren't quite what he expected to find.

    Thus the movie proceeds at a hellbent pace into creepier and creepier incidents, in a house that never seems to be illuminated by the light of day, until events move forward and reach their preordained conclusion (which I figured out halfway through the movie).

    There are some actual "jump out of your seat" scares -- Derrickson does know how to set up such moments and then whack them as hard as possible with 30000 volt hammer, so that even when you expect them to show up, they can still really make you jump -- but the rest of the story didn't always feel authentic. I didn't really understand why the wife loved this writer guy, for example. The one scene that felt pretty raw and honest is their big argument about 2/3 of the way through -- having been married, that whole scene rang true to me as to what the most heated arguments can sound like -- but a lot of the rest of the sound and fury seemed to be Business as Usual in a Horror Movie.

    This has actually been one of the better horror movies to come out all year, sadly. A few images and incidents from the movie do linger, but more due to their shock rather than because of the characters. It was good for an evening of entertainment, though. I think Sinister had a few more shocks than Insidious (for example) but Insidious seemed to be the better movie overall. If I compare it to "The Woman in Black," I think the latter actually had more shocks as well, but a kind of disappointing ending.

    So I guess a follow-up question would be, "What kind of thing makes a horror movie appeal to you?" Better yet, "What makes such a movie LINGER in your head, as opposed to being forgotten as soon as the lights come on?"
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  2. #2
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    Yes, I found the movie to be in the upper echelon of PG-13 horror movies that exist.



    If there were only the suspense of gore factor involved, that would've upped the ante for me.





    Thought that lawnmower....

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    Didn't see it today. Not sober enough to enjoy a flick this evening. Will probably wait till tomorrow.

    EDIT:
    Quote Originally Posted by jontherobot View Post
    Yes, I found the movie to be in the upper echelon of PG-13 horror movies that exist.
    It's PG-13? Fuck that shit! PG-13 horror movies are like Sesame Street.

    I want Saw 8.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Ü View Post
    Didn't see it today. Not sober enough to enjoy a flick this evening. Will probably wait till tomorrow.

    EDIT:


    It's PG-13? Fuck that shit! PG-13 horror movies are like Sesame Street.

    I want Saw 8.

    Oh, Ü, Ü and Ür Saw films.

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    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jontherobot View Post
    Thought that lawnmower....
    I figured there would be a lawnmower involved based on the title of the reel; that was one of those clips that I knew was coming but still freaked me out when it happened. Wow.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

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    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Ü View Post
    I want Saw 8.
    As a side note, I really liked the Saw franchise.
    And of course, if you want gruesome, it's got that in spades.
    (Poor Detective Strahm.)

    But I think the series was more provocative because John Kramer actually had a kind of stringent ethical code, and they really fleshed out his background nicely throughout the series so that his actions and worldview made sense.

    I think there are a few different elements that impact me in horror. One of course is what I saw tonight in Sinister -- raw visceral shock.... getting hit by the unexpected, through the five senses.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

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    Senior Member Elisius's Avatar
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    What makes horror work is the proper balance of atmosphere and terror, back-lit by good storytelling.
    One of my all time favorite horror movies is The Thing. It had amazing atmosphere and enough shock value that you couldn't ever calm down, you were always kept in suspense. Another amazing horror movie like that is Alien. It's immersive sets and great acting keep you from remembering that it's just a movie and you're just in front of a TV. But I can't say I enjoy Saw or other slasher and gore pics. They just don't scare me, they can be interesting if done right, but never properly terrifying.
    Now that I think of it the scariest movie I've watched and the one that kept me up the most night was The Mothman Prophecies. I can't tell you why it scared me so much, you only see the 'monster' in the film about 4 times, but the overall theme and the implications of the creatures are so deeply and eerily unsettling that it scares in the way Lovecraft should have; it makes you feel very small, and very weak.
    On the subject of horror in general, I think that the best medium for horror is video games. When it's interactive the scary parts feel unbelievably real and you get this very genuine fear in you as if you were in reality threatened. Games like Amnesia: The Dark Descent and the Silent Hill series are also good examples of the horror/shock balance and one of the rules of horror to give your viewer rest only so you can immediately snatch it away.
    A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions. - Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.

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    I haven't seen Sinister, but to me:
    Horror is at its best it strikes at primal fears and breaks the audience down on a psychological level.

    Unfortunately, the modern genre has descended into excessive gore and predictable cliches.
    When it works on a subversive level (not possible with today's cinema demographic), it is usually very good.

    It takes innate skill, craft, and understanding to pull it off effectively.
    Unfortunately, master filmmakers often stay away for a reason.

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    'Kay, just got back from seeing it.

    The trouble with highly atmospheric horror movies like this one are the twist endings that are a major letdown. A similarly atmospheric film was released earlier this year and shared the same characteristic, it was called Harry Potter and the Woman in Black. (No matter what Daniel Radcliffe plays, he'll always be Harry Potter, even if he gets to play James Bond one day.)

    Sinister had some genuine scares and was creepy throughout its entire run. But the story element was nothing but cliches. And the ending


    And no shit, that was Vincent D'Onofrio as the university professor? He's looking more and more like the Edgar bug in Men in Black everyday.

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    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Ü View Post
    The trouble with highly atmospheric horror movies like this one are the twist endings that are a major letdown. A similarly atmospheric film was released earlier this year and shared the same characteristic,
    Yeah, I actually felt like the atmosphere to that movie was especially creepy, and I was really on edge/jumped a number of times. However, the twist in the plot was rather predictable, and the very ending was rather a letdown. I actually felt like Radcliffe did well for what he was required to do (which was basically to act freaked out and be okay with being covered in mud, to borrow another reviewer's terminology). But it's a movie I could only watch for the scares, not really the story.

    I still get freaked out alone in old houses, in the dark; but that's about all Sinister brought to me, playing off those fears... a bunch of separated momentary freak-outs. I mean, if I were in a house where I knew I locked something away, and the damn thing suddenly would show up again playing, I would be the hell out of there.

    And no shit, that was Vincent D'Onofrio as the university professor? He's looking more and more like the Edgar bug in Men in Black everyday.
    LOL. Yeah. scary. Any moment now, he's either molt and/or shed his human form.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

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