In "Sinister," Ethan Hawke plays a down-on-his-luck true crime writer desperate for a hit, who moves his family into a house in which the previous occupants died under ominous circumstances. That turns out to be a big mistake.
He soon discovers a box of old home movies, actual filmstrip movies with the necessary projector even, in the attic that seem to be a series of snuff films, families murdered over decades with only fleeting glimpses of a mysterious, ghoulish figure pointing to who is behind it all.
Pursuing the story of those films and whether he has put his own family in the path of whoever made them drive Hawke's writer relentlessly to the brink of madness.
Written by C. Robert Cargill and director Scott Derrickson, "Sinister" offers an interesting twist on the recent wave of "found footage" movies — in that the main character actually finds some footage that propels the narrative forward, with the grisly home movies providing a series of unsettling interludes along the way.