Saw it yesterday. I just got out of an 8-year relationship so take my review with a largish grain of salt.
Cliched isn't necessarily the term I'd use. Irony is defined as the audience having knowledge and information the character doesn't. In this case, this film is a 90-minute exercise in extreme irony. Comparisons can be made to Blow-Up, Rosemary's Baby, and The Shining, and Sinister tries to achieve a classiness in its melding of human themes and horror, but it never quite gels. A lot of this has to do with Ethan Hawke bogarting a large majority of screen time. His family is there, and issues boil under the surface, but nothing really comes to a head until the blowout argument between he and his wife - one of the most authentic depictions of a troubled relationship I've seen on screen.
A large portion of the film revolves around Hawke's obsession with uncovering the mystery behind a series of seemingly unrelated family murders. Herein lies the film's largest problem, as what Hawke discovers and the methods he uses are uninteresting in this day and age of countless CSI-style forensic shows and movies. Blowout did a fantastic job of convincing the audience that Travolta's character had an authentic knowledge of the esoteric methods he used to piece together the mystery. Hawke does the majority of his sleuthing on a Macbook.
Hawke, also, is not a strong and interesting enough actor to carry this type of material solo. His initial reaction to viewing the first in a collection of 8mm snuff reels showcases the depth of which his character will play the rest of the film's events.
Though there is a good set up for chills, nothing really has an affect, the least of which is the Slipknot-inspired visage that pops up in the 8mm films. There was great potential to show the effects of the career-obsessed on the homelife, but ultimately the fate the family suffers seems unavoidable not on account of character actions and desires, but on an unfortunate roll of the dice.
"They said they were going skinny dipping. But I'm not skinny enough."