Wednesday, January 2, 2013

bughuul off.

Sinister (2012).
Dir:  Scott Derrickson.
Cast:  Ethan Hawke, Juliet Rylance, Fred Thompson, Vincent D'Onofrio, Michael Hall D'Addario, James Ransone and Clare Foley.

Nothing says arty horror like a Super 8 flashback, especially one that shows a bag headed family of four standing beneath a tree with nooses around their necks awaiting someone to hang them in spooky slow motion.

Which is nice.

It's just a pity it didn't just end there tho'.

Anyway flash forward a few months and permanently cardiganned  true crime hack Ellison Oswalt (Hawke, he must owe Uma thousands in maintenance to resort to appearing in this ) and his already annoying family - Brit wife Tracy (wide mouthed thespian Rylance, fresh from appearing onstage with Hawke in Anton Chekhov’s Ivanov) and their two children, the ungodly and frighteningly ball faced Ashley (Foley) and lank haired lady-lipped Trevor (D'Addario, best known for voicing Tuck's cousin Buck in the Wonder Pets episode Save the Cool Cat and the Hip Hippo/Tuck and Buck) - are moving into a new house near the crime scene so he can write a book about the aforementioned deaths and hopefully discover what happened to the families fifth member Stephanie (not the Lazy Town one, probably) who disappeared following the hangings.

What Oswalt hasn't fully explained to his family is that by near to the crime scene he really means the actual house where the murders took place.

Nice guy.

"Someone's hanging families fwom the twees! This is sewious!"

Between necking bottles of scotch, looking wistfully into the middle distance and setting up his office, Oswalt sets out to explore the house, finding a box in the attic containing a Super 8 projector and several reels of 8mm film.

Each are labelled with innocent, yet slightly sinister names.


Obviously our hero can't resist a wee looksie and, hoping for a bit of amateur porn swiftly sets up the projector.

Unfortunately (or even fortunately who knows what turns Hawke on? Not one of the worlds sexiest women obviously, seeing as he dumped her for the nanny)  Oswalt discovers that he's now the proud owner of a collection of bona fide  snuff films depicting an assortment of families being murdered in a variety of amusing ways.

These include a family being torched in a car (BBQ '79), having their throats cut whilst tied to a bed (the cheerily titled Sleepy Time '98), being tied to deck chairs and drowned in a pool (Pool Party '66, no Aquabats present I'm afraid), death by lawn mower (Lawn Work '86) and the hanging family from the pre-credits sequence (Family Hanging Out '11).

The pool party film proves particularly upsetting for Oswalt, especially after he notices what looks like a man with a Dorito for a face peering out from the bottom of the pool before turning to look at the camera.

As Doritos usually don't obviously.

Searching back thru' each film frame by frame (thankfully not in real time, tho' it feels like it) he eventually finds Mr. Dorito - alongside a weird painted symbol - in each of the films, patiently watching the carnage unfold.

Further investigation reveals that in each case a child from each family disappeared directly after each murder spree.

Hmmm....could this missing kids be the ones behind the camera?

My face delivers a powerful crunch that unlocks the bold and unique flavors you crave. Oh yes, and I murder families too.

If so then Oswalt - and the writers - have failed to notice quite a few things.

Like where the Hell the kids managed to get a Super 8 camera from - and the films developed, I mean Jessop's is shut - between 1998 and 2011?

And how long did it take Mr. Dorito to teach them how to use one?

Did he use sign language seeing as he doesn't have a mouth?

All that focus pulling and loading, it was a bloody nightmare back in the early 80's for us and we knew what we were doing.

Just one other thing, do you remember the huge light you had to strap to the side?

I had trouble carrying it as a big strong 8 year old and then I didn't have to contend with tying up my family then murdering them whilst carrying the whole camera kit.

At this point I looked at my watch and realized that the film had only been on for 40 minutes even tho' it felt like days.

Thank fuck for fast forward.

If nothing else watching everyone running about at 6x speed adds at least a little enjoyment to the movie.

Ethan Hawke looks back at his illustrious career. Poor sod.

Anyway from what I can gather Oswalt (still in that bloody cardie) has a chat with a nice policeman who looks a wee bit like Bruce Campbell's cancer riddled brother (Generation Kill's Ransone), who in turn tells our writer friend all about the previous killings, that the families were all drugged prior to being offed and that a child from each family went missing following every murder.

 Hopefully this guy'll at least get a thank you credit seeing as all Oswalt has done so far is drink booze and stumble sweatily about his attic stopping occasionally to berate his wife and kids.

 As luck would have it the local town has a professor, Jonas Bros (an uncredited D'Onofrio, clever guy), whose expertise surprisingly is the occult, corn-based demonic phenomena and transcribing spooky graffiti.

Who'd have guessed it?

"Spice Girls number one for Christmas.....MONSTA!"

Pottering (in a non Harry way obviously) away in his library for a few minutes, Jonas is able to not only to decipher the symbols shoddily painted in the films but also give Oswalt a complete profile of the mysterious Mr. Dorito who, it transpires is really an ancient pagan God named Bughuul.

Obvious really seeing as America is well known for it's ancient Pagans.

Bughuul, our plot covering professor explains, liked nothing more than killing entire families in order to steal their children consume their souls.

Which, as hobbies go isn't really that bad if I'm honest.

Nonplussed by this revelation (either that or he frankly can't be arsed putting up even the slightest interest in the film other than thinking about his pay packet) Oswalt goes home to have another wee drink before bed, totally missing the fact that his terrifyingly ginger daughter has started daubing satanic symbols round her bedroom walls. 


Checking the 'time remaining' bit on the menu I notice that the film is nearly over (thank you Baby Jesus!) so decide to risk the rest at a normal(ish) speed.

Oswalt is still skulking about the house with a glass permanently welded to his hand and yes, his family are still annoying and there are still spooky noises in the loft.

What kind of a hint does this guy need to leave a house? I mean if I was Bughuul I'd be thinking that the guy was either hard as nails or taking the piss.

Either way he must be bored because one night our corny creature decides to organize a film show in the loft and invite all the lost kiddies he's so far abducted.

And this is meant to be the bad guy?

All i ever got from a demon as a kid was a sore arse and a gold medal saying he'd fixed it for me to meet Jonathan King.

Talk about being unlucky.

Hearing the film projector running Oswalt enters the loft (well if I had to choose between entering a loft and his frankly torn faced wife I know which way I'd go) disturbing the group of rotting faced (and rotten acted) children and causing a slightly annoyed Bughuul to appear in all his latex glory in front of him.

I probably don't need to say how terrifying this scene is.

Shite in mah....oh, you don't have one.

As if woken from his non-acting doldrums (or he's just realized that he will never again ski down Uma Thurman's frankly magnificently mighty cleavage) Oswalt springs into action, taking the camera and the films to the garden and burning them before waking his family to telling them that they're moving back to their old house.

 Obviously not right away tho' or they'd miss the movies shocking climax.

Which because I'm a nice man I wont give away.

Tho' you've probably guessed that it features the wee ginger girl killing everyone.


Uma Thurman: Magnificent breasts.

Sloppily written, blindly - and hook handedly - directed with performances that would put Conrad Veidt's somnambulist Cesare to shame, Scott (Hellraiser: Inferno) Derrickson's horror by numbers opus shows exactly what's wrong with mainstream Hollywood's attitude to horror and to it's audiences in general.
Lowest common denominator film making with no heart, no soul or no mercy written by - and for - those who think Poltergeist is still the cutting edge of modern horror and who praise The Ring remake above the original.

It really upsets me that shite like this can make $47,000,000 at the box office when fantastically scary fare like Haunted Changi and the dark fairy tale Ink can't even get a decent cinema release.

And it's all your fault for going to see it.

Unless you didn't when it's not, obviously.

It's only January 2nd and I'm already depressed.

Cheers Mr. Derrickson.
Tho' saying that it does mean the year can't get any worse.
Doesn't it?

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