6.8/10
171,109
540 user 417 critic

Sinister (2012)

Trailer
2:15 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

Washed-up true-crime writer Ellison Oswalt finds a box of super 8 home movies that suggest the murder he is currently researching is the work of a serial killer whose work dates back to the 1960s.

Director:

Reviews
Popularity
1,146 ( 438)
3 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Insidious I (2010)
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A family looks to prevent evil spirits from trapping their comatose child in a realm called The Further.

Director: James Wan
Stars: Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Ty Simpkins
Drama | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

Newlyweds are terrorized by demonic forces after moving into a large house that was the site of a grisly mass murder a year before.

Director: Andrew Douglas
Stars: Ryan Reynolds, Melissa George, Jimmy Bennett
Dark Water (2005)
Drama | Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

A mother and daughter, still wounded from a bitter custody dispute, hole up in a run-down apartment building. Adding further drama to their plight, they are targeted by the ghost of former resident.

Director: Walter Salles
Stars: Jennifer Connelly, Ariel Gade, John C. Reilly
Drama | Fantasy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A young solicitor travels to a remote village where he discovers the vengeful ghost of a scorned woman is terrorizing the locals.

Director: James Watkins
Stars: Daniel Radcliffe, Janet McTeer, Ciarán Hinds
Dream House (2011)
Drama | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

Soon after moving into their seemingly idyllic new home, a family learns of a brutal crime committed against former residents of the dwelling.

Director: Jim Sheridan
Stars: Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz, Naomi Watts
Silent Hill (2006)
Adventure | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A woman, Rose, goes in search for her adopted daughter within the confines of a strange, desolate town called Silent Hill.

Director: Christophe Gans
Stars: Radha Mitchell, Laurie Holden, Sean Bean
The Awakening I (2011)
Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

In 1921, England is overwhelmed by the loss and grief of World War I. Hoax exposer Florence Cathcart visits a boarding school to explain sightings of a child ghost. Everything she believes unravels as the 'missing' begin to show themselves.

Director: Nick Murphy
Stars: Rebecca Hall, Dominic West, Imelda Staunton
Whispers III (2015)
Drama | Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A young couple grieving the recent death of their daughter move to the countryside where they are haunted by their tragedy and a sinister darkness.

Director: Tammi Sutton
Stars: Keeley Hazell, Craig Rees, Barbara Nedeljakova
The Ring (2002)
Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A journalist must investigate a mysterious videotape which seems to cause the death of anyone in a week of viewing it.

Director: Gore Verbinski
Stars: Naomi Watts, Martin Henderson, Brian Cox
1408 (2007)
Fantasy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A man who specializes in debunking paranormal occurrences checks into the fabled room 1408 in the Dolphin Hotel. Soon after settling in, he confronts genuine terror.

Director: Mikael Håfström
Stars: John Cusack, Samuel L. Jackson, Mary McCormack
The Others (2001)
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A woman who lives in a darkened old house with her two photosensitive children becomes convinced that her family home is haunted.

Director: Alejandro Amenábar
Stars: Nicole Kidman, Christopher Eccleston, Fionnula Flanagan
Drama | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

After a family is forced to relocate for their son's health, they begin experiencing supernatural behavior in their new home, and uncover a sinister history.

Director: Peter Cornwell
Stars: Virginia Madsen, Martin Donovan, Elias Koteas
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
...
...
Rob Riley ...
...
Janet Zappala ...
...
...
BBQ Boy
Ethan Haberfield ...
Pool Party Boy
...
Lawn Girl
...
Sleepy Time Boy
...
Bughuul / Mr. Boogie (as Nick King)
Edit

Storyline

True-crime writer Ellison Oswalt moves himself and his family into a house where a horrific crime took place earlier, but his family doesn't know. He begins researching the crime so that he can write a new book about it to help his flailing career. He uses some "snuff" film footage he finds in the house to help him in his research, but he soon finds more than he bargained for. There is a figure in each of the films but who or what is it? As a result, his family start to suffer (as does he) and things take a turn for the worse. Will they survive? Written by Michael Hallows Eve

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Once you see him, nothing can save you. See more »

Genres:

Horror | Mystery

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for disturbing violent images and some terror | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

12 October 2012 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Found Footage  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$3,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$18,007,634 (USA) (12 October 2012)

Gross:

$48,056,940 (USA) (28 December 2012)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

|

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The super 8 snuff reels in Sinister aren't unlike many of the snuff reels that came up in the latter half of the 20th century. The super 8 film format, when it was introduced in 1965, allowed amateur filmmaking to be much cheaper and easier for the average person, but unfortunately this also meant that a great amount of snuff reels, most of them fake, started surfacing as urban legends and in banned movies such as the Faces of Death series. Most real snuff films that featured actual murders were never revealed to the public and have been confiscated by police as evidence. The JFK Assassination was caught on a super 8 camera by an amateur filmmaker as an unintentional murder film and revealed to the public; since then it has been subject to several documentaries and conspiracy theories. Sinister's snuff reels were made to look like 20th century murder films on purpose to fit the story, which questions who the people or person behind all the snuff reels out there is. See more »

Goofs

Ellison writes two sticky notes & pastes them to a photography of his attic. One of the notes says, "Box of films, how did it get there" (in his handwriting), and the other is a picture he drew of a box. When he looks at the photo and 2 sticky notes later on, the handwriting on note #1 is different, and the hand-drawn box on note #2 is also different. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Tracy: Just one box?
Ellison Oswalt: It's for my office. It's fragile.
Tracy: Sissy.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Midnight Movie Review: Sinister (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

Call from the Grave
Music by Andrea Nébel (as Andréa Nebel)
Performed by Aghast
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Horreur technologique
12 October 2012 | by (New York, NY) – See all my reviews

In this day and age, horror is getting more and more creative by demand since the psycho killer in the woods-scenario has pretty much run its course. A consequence of that is the incorporation of contemporary technology and concepts appearing in the genre; "found footage" films have replaced Jason and Michael, and while these films do have potential (this year's indie "V/H/S" had some neat ideas), even they are beginning to lose steam. Enter "Sinister", which is an amalgam of timeless supernatural horror themes and "found footage" technique that has proved to be a consistent box office draw.

"Sinister" follows a true crime author, Ellison (Ethan Hawke) who moves his family (unbeknownst to them) into a house where an entire family was hung to death in a tree in their backyard, save the youngest daughter who vanished without a trace. Upon moving in, Ellison finds a box of 8mm footage and a projector in the attic; contained in these reels of film are various murders dating from the 1960s up to present day— one of them is the filming of the hanging murder that occurred in his backyard. As he furthers investigation into the footage, he finds more than he bargained for when connections are made to an ancient deity who takes the souls of children.

On a surface level, "Sinister" appears like every other horror piece on the market, but I was surprised by the substance the film had. Conceptually and thematically speaking, it's not painfully original, but director Scott Derrickson makes up for that with striking visuals and a daunting soundtrack. The opening of the film is particularly disturbing— the movie begins with the family hanging murder, which sets a damned unsettling tone for the rest of the film.

In terms of the supernatural elements at play in the script, they almost seem fairytale-ish (a Pagan deity who feeds on children— c'mon), but it does add a unique element to the film. I have to say though that the most frightening thing in this movie are the actual murder tapes themselves. It could be just me, but the notion of filmed murders unsettles me to the core, even if I know that the footage is faked; as if the act of murder itself isn't awful enough, documenting it is downright... well, sinister. The footage utilized in the film is unsettling, shocking, and above all, it's realistic, so the audience gets the same unpleasant feelings shared by Ethan Hawke's character. Truly macabre stuff.

Another major positive for this film is that the acting is far above par for what most genre fans are dealt. Ethan Hawke is a quality actor and newcomer Juliet Rylance proves her chops here; their scenes together are particularly strong, and much more than any horror fan could dream of asking for. The film's ending can be seen from a certain distance, although it doesn't necessarily make it less shocking in this case. If anything, it adds to the sense of dread pervading the film.

Overall, "Sinister" was a pleasant surprise for me. It doesn't offer heaps in terms of originality, but it's a stylistically stunning film and takes steps in the right in direction very gracefully. When it comes down to it, I can't say that I was even really "scared" by the film so much as I was unsettled by it. It has its share of orthodox jump scares, but I was more bothered and rattled by the grim nature of the film as a whole, which is a nice feeling to walk away from the theater with as a thick-skinned genre fan who has become increasingly harder to unnerve. 7/10.


129 of 186 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?