“Something Sinister” is a psychological thriller written and directed by Christopher Dye. The film explores the psychosomatic effects of a young woman’s disturbing past and present oppression by a antagonistic family member. “Something Sinister” stars Rachel Appelbaun, Jeremy Gladen, Johnny Wolf and Maria Olsen.
The synopsis reads: In an old secluded home, a young girl named Amelia finds herself at the mercy of her oppressive and abusive Aunt Helen.Slowly Amelia starts to lose her grasp on reality and falls into a vortex of madness and the supernatural, soon believing she’s being stalked by an evil presence. Is there something sinister haunting her from beyond the grave?
The story of “Something Sinister” is a haunting tale that plays on strong personal guilt, in this case Catholic guilt-which I hear is almost as bad as Jewish mother guilt and far worse than the standard variety of guilt. Not that you need to really understand this to get it-or that it is clearly defined- I only recognize the concept through the strong expressionistic use of the rosary and other iconography as being important to the characters in the film. What results is a truly chilling experience that blurs the lines between supernatural malevolence and psychological breakdown. The story arch is a constant, even paced thriller that is hypnotically enthralling without the need for shock thrills or high energy melodramatics.
The cast create creepy, engaging characters that manage to be both distant and relatable. Through use of Gothic horror and surreal visage, Dye creates a tight chiller that is reminiscent of classic thriller noir and horror parable. The result is a mature, comparable art film. I chose to screen the black and white edition of the film so the use of shadow and light blended with askew angles produced a visual story that is haunting and captivating. What really leads “Something Sinister” is the eerie sound track that utilizes classic horror sound effects that play throughout the story which creates an emotional unease and atmospheric accompaniment that hovers disturbingly over the dramatic components.
“Something Sinister” is a clever, artistic chiller that appeals to both classic and contemporary art film lovers. Those looking for gimmicks and thrills from over-the-top special effects or spectacle may have a harder time with this one. I personally loved “Something Sinister” ability to show a more romanticized passion for the Gothic horror and play on deteriorating psyche verses outward supernatural interference. Dye has a strong and clear understanding of horror, as well as a directorial style that shows an appreciation for the classic storytelling style while maintaining a unique signature.