Ethan Hawke's character is a formerly famous true crime novelist that has not penned a smash hit since his New York Times bestselling novel Kentucky Blood years before. To regain his status and to save his family financially, Hawke moves his family into a house where a grisly murder has been committed. Almost immediately his son's night terrors return and his daughter begins painting spooky images of the household's deceased former residents. His wife (played by Juliet Rylance) is unaware of the home's history and is considering splitting up their marriage should Ethan choose to pursue his failing career as a novelist. He desperately requires an infusion of sorts to continue to pull the wagon.
When strange noises and images break Hawke out of his stupor, a series of home movies spontaneously appear in the attic. These videos reveal a series of murders in which families are duped into lowering their guard and one child is kidnapped. Some had their throats slices, others were drowned, and the most recent victims were hung. Hawke's character enlists the help of a professor than understands Paganism and a local deputy that sympathizes with his cause. Nevertheless, he ignores the horrifying warnings of supernatural forces at work and persists in solving the mystery until the damage has been done.
Regrettably, after dozens of suspenseful moments, the ending of Sinister is more tame and lame than mind-bogglingly memorable. Ethan Hawke delivers his usual rock solid performance, but the film never decides if it is a CGI ghost story or a true horror picture. Consequently, fans of one type of horror will feel inherently disappointed with some elements and vice versa. Sometimes trying to kill two birds with one horror stone causes collateral damage for everyone. Sinister is a horror movie that hits its opponent squarely in the jaw but never delivers a decisive knockout blow.
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