Melvin Benson’s review published on Letterboxd:
What a great rewatch! I love checking out a movie and liking it more rather than having it remain the same or, my goodness, come out worse! But, this was great! Aged like a fine-wine. Probably due to it's nostalgia-criticism. It has some great thematic imagery on the dangers of idolizing past success, focusing on positives over negatives (to a fault, as one should naturally fight for this!), and even some evidence of who, in a family unit, suffer at the expense of workaholism.
Sinister definitely succeeds in its flavor. Have an investigative true-crime novelist pursue something far beyond his capabilities is so topical these days considering the influx of true-crime podcasts and shows. Part of what's sick is that the mass amounts of true-crime stuff out there is due to it's low cost... which is such a capitalistic way of looking at misery, crime, and human life. Sure, it was low-cost to produce a show with a good mic and an editor for your podcast, and I guess research time can be a bit much, but the cost is that the difficult stuff happened years ago with distant people who aren't around anymore... otherwise they wouldn't be the subject matter of a true-crime podcast/Netflix special.
And even Sinister touches on this during one great scene where, similar to the collection of murder-reels in the attic which contain joy before misery, Ellison Oswalt has a collection of interview tapes back when he was a best-selling true-crime novelist. He sits with a drink in his hand (obviously not his first) and watches as he's asked, "So what feels better? The justice of getting a man free from jail, or the fame?". Ellison answers in the tape, "Oh, the justice. One hundred percent the justice." before a quick cut to a contemptuous and teary-eyed Ethan Hawke.
He sure is a great actor, and it's fun to see him do a bit of that reserved misery here in Sinister that we later see in First Reformed a few years later!
Anyways, I took a lot more from Sinister with this rewatch and you can hear all about that in the latest Cinematic Doctrine podcast episode (out now! Link below!). And with that in mind, you can see why I focused in a bit on the whole 'true-crime podast' thing, here. I mean, my goodness, it's my industry lol.