Thursday, November 15, 2012
Ethan Hawke plays Ellison, a true crime author who’s struggling to recreate his earlier success. Ten years before the events of Sinister, his book Kentucky Blood was a bestseller, resolving a crime the police had been unable to figure out, and briefly making him a media celebrity. Now married to wife Tracy (Juliette Rylance) and with two kids to feed, he’s keen to get started on a book that will again establish him as a writer of merit.
“We didn’t just move two doors down from a crime scene, did we?” Tracy asks, as she and Ellison move boxes into their new small-town dwelling. “Of course we didn’t,” Ellison replies.
This isn’t a lie. In his quest for literary glory, Ellison’s selfishly moved his family into a house with a terrible past. The previous occupants (another white middle-class family) met a horrible death in the back garden, while the youngest child subsequently disappeared.
Ellison’s determined to make the murders the subject of his latest book, and despite the veiled threats of local sheriff (played by Fred Dalton Thompson), he’s willing to go to any lengths to get to the bottom of who killed them. Shortly after he moves in, the writer discovers an old box of 8mm film in the loft, which far from providing clues to his investigation, maddeningly deepen it. Who committed the crime? Who filmed it, and why? And how did the reels end up in the loft?