For some reason, Sinister has been the movie on my mind lately. It must be begging to be reviewed, I suppose. It is a film I enjoyed, mostly because of the plot. I think the story is very haunting. Washed up thriller novelist Ellison Oswalt (Ethan Hawke) and his wife look to move into a new home with their son and daughter. Ellison is on the prowl for a new book idea, and what better story to publish than one of a true murder case. In order to get in the right mindset Ellison talks the family into the house where it all took place. But the family doesn’t know this.
While exploring the attic in their new home, Ellison discovers a box full of standard 8mm footage labeled as home movies. Digging further, Ellison watches the films and learns that they are the murders of families in the past. It really frightens one. I mean, who doesn’t agree that super 8 footage can look disturbing? One murder involved drowning and Ellison discovers a demonic figure at the bottom of the pool, watching the murders. From then on, he is entangled into the mysteries of that figure and the relation to his research and his own sanity and safety.
Alongside director Scott Derrickson, writer C Robert Gargill co-wrote the movie. Sinister is an interesting horror film because the concept behind it came from a scriptwriter’s actual nightmare, and that itself is on the creepy side. Gargill sat with Screen Geek back when the movie premiered to discuss his thoughts on the film and where the ideas for this project came from. When asked where the idea for the film came from, he replies, “A nightmare I had, if you’ll believe that. I had a terrible dream after seeing The Ring. I was climbing into my attic when I saw a box with Super 8 films and a projector in it. I spooled up the first film and it was the opening image of Sinister. That nightmare stuck with me for a while and eventually I realized it might make for a pretty good horror movie,” he tells the interviewer.
It’s amazing where story ideas derive from. The subconscious mind can be a very liberating, yet chilling thing. You can follow up on the rest of the interview here. I think interviews with screenwriters are really eye-opening. After all, they are one of the biggest contributors to a film. Sinister was mighty alright in my book. I just think they could have done just a little more with such a tremendous idea like that.