When the opening scene to a movie shows a family with sacks on their heads, hanging from a tree, wiggling and kicking, then slowly stops as they die, you know the rest of this movie will be equally disturbing.
Ellison is a true-crimes writer looking to regain recognition with his new novel about a murdered family. To get a feel for the murders and to hopefully find something the police didn’t, Ellison moves his family into the murdered family’s home. Ellison’s wife and two children have no idea that they are living in a crime scene home and he tries to shelter them from finding out just so he can finish his book. His mission is to uncover who killed the family and what happened to their missing daughter, Stephanie. A part of him is pressured to do this book to reclaim the spotlight he was once in ten years ago but he believes that there’s a story that needs to be told.
While moving in Ellison finds a mystery box labeled “home movies” in the attic. He becomes intrigued to find out more about the previous owners so he sets up the films for viewing. When he watches the first movie, he sees the murdered family hanging out in the backyard (pun not intended but it’s kind of funny anyway). As Ellison watches the family play around and enjoying themselves, the footage quickly flips to showing the family being hung from the tree. The video startles Ellison but he feels like he stumbled on to something big. He knows that he should report the footage to the police but his last book caused some friction with the authorities and he also doesn’t want to hand over his findings too quickly.
As Ellison watches the other movies, he sees other families, in other areas getting brutally murdered. Ellison is haunted by what he sees but he is driven to find the connections to the families and all that is in the movies. The movies share a common occult-like symbol along with a demonic person in the background.
While Ellison becomes obsessed with the case, he’s experiencing a presence in the house. He doesn’t believe in the supernatural so he tries to ignore it but it’s affecting his mental stability and family.
He knowingly puts his family in danger just for the sake of finishing the book. He feels like he’s so close to unmasking the mystery that he pushes their concerns aside just to pull through this. When Ellison reaches a darker place he wasn’t not ready to deal with, he knows it’s time to get his family out of the house, but it may already be too late.
I knew that I was going to see some crazy things in this found footage but like Ellison, even I was not prepared for the thing that I witnessed. A lot of the violence was unsettling and gruesome but it was effective in showing the audience the kind of evil Ellison was up against.
I’m not sure if this is a movie for everyone. I think the typical horror fan will enjoy this for the intensity, gore and scares. The only real downfall I had was that the “twist” was a little predicable. Maybe it’s because I watch too many of these damn movies or if it’s just that transparent. Either way, I enjoyed every minute of the journey the movie took me to all the way to the end.
Sinister is out on Friday, so kick off this Halloween season off right and check it out.