Review: Despite an Interesting Mythology, 'The Secret Of Sinchanee' Lacks Impact

by Kevin Taft

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Friday October 8, 2021

'The Secret Of Sinchanee'
'The Secret Of Sinchanee'  (Source:Vertical Entertainment)

Despite some interesting mythology, the new horror film "The Secret of the Sinchanee" fails to live up to the opening title cards.

When the film opens, we read the history of the Sinchanee — a peaceful mixed race tribe in Deerfield, Massachusetts — that was thought to have immunity to all disease. However, the Alantow, a sect of pagan witches, wanted to wipe them out. Interesting history.

We immediately go to 1995, where a mother and daughter are brutally killed while the young son of the family is saved by a mysterious Native American man who drops him off at his grandfather's house, where he is eventually raised.

Cut to present day, and that same little boy is now the grown-up Will Stark (writer/director Steven Grayhm) returning home after his father has passed away. Working as a tow truck driver, he stays in his father's old house, which seems to harbor some supernatural secrets.

Meanwhile, a young woman is found dead. Enter Det. Carrie Donovan (Tamara Austin), who teams up with her former boyfriend (and her daughter's father), Drew Carter (Nate Boyer), to try to solve the murder. When they realize that Will has just returned home — and knowing about the mysterious murder of his mother and sister — he becomes a potential suspect. While he is clearly innocent, when spooky things begin happening both he and the audience start to wonder if he might have something to do with it.

This overly-long film has its moments. Grayhm utilizes some effective jump scares and unsettling moments that work. But ultimately, he bites off more than he can chew. There are two movies here: One involves Will's discovery of what is happening supernaturally in his new home, and how it relates to the murders of his mom and sister; the other has to do with the investigation by the two estranged detectives, who have personal issues of their own to work out.

Interestingly, the character of Carrie (and actress Austin) is the most interesting aspect of the film, causing it to feel disconnected. The horror elements are intriguing, but the promise of the mythology is never fully explored in a meaningful way, so the film ends up lacking impact.

Grayhm isn't the most compelling of actors, although he certainly shows promise as a director. If only his script were tighter and more focused, then the secrets of the Sinchanee would have been something more fascinating to discover.

"The Secret of the Sinchanee" will debut on VOD October 8th.

Kevin Taft is a screenwriter/critic living in Los Angeles with an unnatural attachment to 'Star Wars' and the desire to be adopted by Steven Spielberg.