Monday, April 23, 2012

Still (and Poster) from 'Sinister' Have That 'Feel'

Courtesy of Comingsoon we got a look at some posters shown at CinemaCon. The one for 'Sinister' caught my eye.

There's depth here. Well done graphics hint at a story that's more complex than usual for movies like this.

The face on the wall is perhaps a bit cliché (scary, but we've seen this kind of thing in gobs of movies and graphic novels). However, the fact it's formed by 'ink drips' coming out of the girl's hand sets this element apart and gives it weight.

You have to wonder about the girl. Who is she? What role does she play? Why does something that looks so wicked come from her? It's rare a horror movie poster intimates such subtleties of story.

And, look closely at the lower right corner. There's a reel of film unspooled on the floor which syncs visually with the image on the wall, as if the ink that forms the evil entity's face flows into the film (or vice versa). ...Nice touch, thematic.

The tagline: "Once you see him, nothing can save you" is kind of ho-hum yet stops you. There's something there. What does that mean? It's good.

Someone was conscientious about designing this poster. That the movie is by the makers of 'Paranormal Activity' and 'Insidious' can't be ignored, either.

Check out this still.

That's Ethan Hawke as a novelist, Ellison, watching footage of a family being murdered. There's something about this image that works better than you'd expect. Could be the unflattering glasses -- there's an unusual move for a director. Takes confidence to make your protagonist look like that. Hawke's expression works for me. Look at his eyes. I also like the projector -- it's so old-fashioned it catches your attention. Something about it fits well here. Framing is also very nice, with good focal points in the left and right thirds and nothing in the middle -- dynamic, properly done. Also like the glass with ice cubes. The fact Ellison thought to set the glass on the film can, using it as a coaster so as to protect the wooden table, says a tiny bit about the character. Nice visual touches -- stuff another director would never have thought to include.

I know -- fairly indefinite commentary, but it's hard to nail down what's so good about the still. However, something about it says 'good movie'.

Flick is directed by Scott Derrickson, who's pretty hot right now. He wrote, along with Paul Harris Boardman, the upcoming 'Devil's Knot' to be directed by Atom Egoyan, a fine visual poet, which will star Reese Witherspoon and Colin Firth, about the killing of three kids as part of a satanic ritual.

Derrickson is also writing, again with Boardman, the remake of 'Poltergeist'.

As a director his work is respectable: The Day The Earth Stood Still, and The Exorcism of Emily Rose. Up next he's helming the cool-sounding 'Goliath', an action flick, and 'Two Eyes Staring', a horror movie about a girl's friendship with the ghost of her mother's twin (nice, loaded with potential).

'Sinister' made its debut at this year's SXSW. Here's a couple clips from a review by Jeremy Kirk:

  • ...opening shot sets the tone for the rest of the film, shows you something you've seen a variation on before, but here it's different. It's creepier.
  • Sinister has some truly terrifying images. The storyline Cargill & Derickson have conceived here allows for all manner of images to be shown, the stand-out being Mr. Boogie, probably the most classically sinister creation the film has to offer. Played by Nicholas King, he's as foreboding a villain as a film like Sinister can muster. Every time the creature is on screen you instantly feel uncomfortable. But scary as Mr. Boogie is, it's the sight of families being brutally murdered that sticks with you long after the film is over. 
  • Sinister throws in enough surprises to keep the pace going. A cameo by Vincent D'Onofrio still remains creepy even with its attempt at humor working, as well. The film builds until the penultimate moment when everything comes together - maybe not as smoothly as it should, but, at least, the film doesn't fall into ridiculous exposition where it easily could have - and you're left with that feeling. It's a feeling that, at first, tells you you didn't like Sinister. Some horror is meant to make you upset, though. The best of adult horror leaves you upset when the credits roll. Sinister is solid, adult horror. It isn't the most fun time you'll have at the theater, but it does its job exceedingly well. In a world of bland, PG-13 slashers and common ghost stories, it's a welcomed discomfort.

Kirk talks a lot about the 'feeling' of 'Sinister'. I'd agree having only seen the poster and one still. There's something about this movie... I'll be seeing this one.


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