Let’s Boogie For Mr. Boogie: Looking Back at Scott Derrickson’s ‘Sinister’ (2012)


We’re taking a look back at Scott Derrickson’s ‘Sinister’ from 2012. Grab some popcorn — it’s time to boogie for “Mr. Boogie”.

Scott Derrickson’s ‘Sinister’ – Courtesy of Blumhouse


Scott Derrickson‘s Sinister blurs a number of fine lines. Obviously, there’s the line between merely seeing something horrible depicted and actually being impacted by it. Just like the saying “You are what you eat,” there may be something to the idea that, to some extent, we are what we see. If we were to watch realistic super 8 footage of some family being hung from a tree, it could potentially scar us. In a way, this movie addresses such an issue, while also being a supernatural story.

In Sinister, the supernatural elements don’t overpower the other elements, which helps prevent a supernatural film from seeming cheesy. It’s also essentially a monster movie, yet the monster doesn’t hog the spotlight — in fact, neither does the myth behind the movie’s monster.

This is variously a true crime story, a haunted film projector story, a family and police drama, and a look into some twisted and evil behavior. All of these elements are there, and none of them overpower each other Also, to tie them together with any amount of success deserves some recognition. Like I said, there’re a lot of fine lines. To have considerable success obviously makes it all the better.

Scott Derrickson’s ‘Sinister’ – Courtesy of Blumhouse

The “hanging family” has a context in the movie as well and it’s up to true crime author Ellison Oswalt (Ethan Hawke) to unravel it. Who killed the family? Why? Such images make Oswalt wince, yet he feels obligated to watch them to solve the mystery.

Unfortunately for him, such mysteries take their toll. Oswalt’s wife, Tracy (Juliet Rylance), ultimately doesn’t like his chosen profession and has him sort of walled off while doing his research. This, in order to protect their two children, Ashley (Clare Foley) and Trevor (Michael Hall D’Addario). Trevor already suffers from night terrors, which Tracy believes are linked to his father’s job as well.

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As it turns out, one of Oswalt’s biggest mistakes was moving into the house. In fact, the hanging took place right in the backyard. Knowing that murders took place there without telling your own family? Bad move, dude. Very bad move.

As the story progresses, this fact alone risks tearing the family apart. However — as is standard horror fare — a bunch of strange, supernatural things begin to occur as well. Then, of course, new footage keeps showing up featuring other family deaths.

Ultimately, Sinister is reminiscent of The Shining, with 8MM-style snuff film action thrown in. It’s still a fairly original story, well written and portrayed. Moments take their time without being exceedingly dull in the process. It has action and scares, but they all seem to come naturally from the plot — no “tacked on” feel.

So, next time you feel like hanging with your family, you can have a normal, boring occasion, or you can watch Sinister and boogie with “Mr. Boogie” (just don’t sue me to pay for your family’s therapy sessions).

Next: ‘Get Out’ Dominates Weekend Box Office

Seen ‘Siister’? Like the 2012 spook pic? Let the other Boogies know what you think in the comment section below.