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Movie Review: ‘Sinister’ (2012)

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Sinister begins with a very cryptic scene, drawing you in mercilessly.  Footage from a Super 8 film shows a family of four standing under a tree, hooded with nooses around their necks. An unseen figure cuts the main branch supporting the family, hanging and killing them all but the youngest child, who is never found by the authorities.

Enter family man Ellison Oswalt (Ethan Hawke). Ellison’s wife Tracy (Juliet Rylance) and their two children Trevor (Michael Hall D’Addario) and Ashely (Claire Foley) find themselves uprooted and relocated yet again following Ellison’s hunt for the story of a lifetime. Ellison is a writer whose passion is to dig into true crime murders that the police have failed to solve. He has had one hit book, but his following releases have not had the luster needed to push them onto the best seller list.  If he can just find that one epic story… sinister-9-600x399

Fate seems to smile on Ellison as he makes some fundamental discoveries that pull him deeper and deeper into the terrible tragedy that left four family members murdered, and a little girl named Stephanie missing.  However, Ellison’s sanity begins to unravel quickly as he begins to risk more and more to uncover “the truth.” When strange “occurrences” start happening with increasing frequency, Ellison loses track of what is important and puts it all on the line to uncover the story of a lifetime.  Such actions come with dire consequences.

The risks Ellison takes  can be understood by anyone who has ever chased greatness.  What victory comes without sacrifice? Great sacrifice is often the price for great success. The question that each of us must pose to ourselves is at what point have you gone to far?  What if the success you have been looking for requires more than you came prepared to wager? What defines what is considered acceptable sacrifice and what is utter and complete selfishness? When is enough enough?

Questions like these weigh heavily as we watch Tracy, the dotingly supportive wife who sees the potential for greatness within her husband decide to stand beside him as he struggles to find his authenticity within writing. Juliet Rylance does an excellent job of portraying the struggle of a supportive wife and a responsible mother.  Their young children Trevor and Ashley follow suit, all be it begrudgingly, as they are ripped from yet another dwelling and thrust into the midst of another town where they are disliked.  While the children don’t understand the full story, they know that dad makes his money by writing, and he must go where the story is. But Ellison’s family does not know the whole truth.  And what Ellison’s family does not know may be the tie that unbinds them…forever.


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About Diabolique Belle

I am unique by design. Creative by default. Bold by choice. The writing gods have demanded homage: I am here to comply