Sinister

User Score
7.3

Generally favorable reviews- based on 331 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 21 out of 331

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User Reviews

  1. Oct 14, 2015
    8
    This one has jump scares, but good jump scares. Too often, bad horror films will rely on jump scares that startle more than they do scare. However, in Sinister, it does a fantastic job crafting an eerie and fully unsettling atmosphere thanks to a great back story, mysterious happenings, and the phenomenal score (did I mention the score?). Sinister is successful because it does not rely onThis one has jump scares, but good jump scares. Too often, bad horror films will rely on jump scares that startle more than they do scare. However, in Sinister, it does a fantastic job crafting an eerie and fully unsettling atmosphere thanks to a great back story, mysterious happenings, and the phenomenal score (did I mention the score?). Sinister is successful because it does not rely on these scares, rather it is the atmosphere that keeps you on edge and thrills you throughout. Ethan Hawke and the rest of the cast do a good job, but really, this shows director Scott Derrickson truly does have talent. With this atmospheric and creepy horror film, any claims to the opposite can be disregarded. A truly haunting experience, Sinister works well not only as a horror film, but as a crime film with a truly captivating story behind it that you try and piece together along with Hawke. If this film does not scare you, I truly envy you, because I was petrified from the very beginning. Expand
  2. May 22, 2014
    8
    Sinister, although maybe looking pretty tame, is one of the scariest movies of the last ten years, and is probably one of the top ten scariest movies I have ever seen, right up there with Rosemary's Baby and The Exorcist. Of course, some of the elements of the movie are a bit cliché at times, but they are overshadowed by its ability to create scares and thrills pretty much out of thin air.Sinister, although maybe looking pretty tame, is one of the scariest movies of the last ten years, and is probably one of the top ten scariest movies I have ever seen, right up there with Rosemary's Baby and The Exorcist. Of course, some of the elements of the movie are a bit cliché at times, but they are overshadowed by its ability to create scares and thrills pretty much out of thin air. Plus, the movie is bolstered by great acting and a very intriguing and engaging story. This one really surprised me, and took me to levels that I never would've expected from this genre. It is a truly bone-chillingly horrifying movie. Expand
  3. Aug 30, 2013
    6
    While it's one of the better horror movies I've seen, "Sinister" fails to bring any real scares. It's got a creepy tone, but it never manages to turn creepiness into terror. The plot about a failing true-crime writer trying solve a murder that the cops can't in order to relive his glory days is a good anchor point, and watching him do this at the expense of his family gives the film aWhile it's one of the better horror movies I've seen, "Sinister" fails to bring any real scares. It's got a creepy tone, but it never manages to turn creepiness into terror. The plot about a failing true-crime writer trying solve a murder that the cops can't in order to relive his glory days is a good anchor point, and watching him do this at the expense of his family gives the film a certain bleak tone that sets it apart. The movie is at its best when you watch the main character witness gruesome murders through these mysterious recordings, and seeing how it affects his sanity. These moments succeed because they have a sick and creepy voyeuristic feel to them, and also because they give the film a feeling of mystery that has you dying to know just what the heck is going on. The movie suffers when the main character is investigating bumps in the night, which is disappointing because this usually happens right after the good parts. This is when the movie should get scary, but instead it lets us down. Rather than providing a terrifying moment the movie gives us a lame jump scare, or even worse, nothing at all. Why the film chose to build up the tension only to let it fizzle out here is beyond me. But by far the most disappointing thing in the movie is when it finally reveals what is going on. After watching the mystery build and build, and have you get more and more invested, it falls flat on its face an incredibly disappointing and un-scary reveal. It ruins the whole tone of the movie and even opens up one big plot hole, ending the movie in disappointment. I haven't been scared in a horror movie in forever and "Sinister" was no different. The one thing that keeps the movie watchable is the fact that it is creepy, which is more than I can say for most other horror movies. It's just a shame it never takes the next step to make it scary. Expand
  4. Nov 28, 2012
    6
    Although its ending isn't exactly satisfying, "Sinister" still offers up a rather fresh story, a great lead performance from Ethan Hawke, and some impossibly horrifying imagery throughout.
  5. Mar 10, 2013
    7
    A horror movie that wasn't bad. Unfortunately for someone whose a horror movie fan like myself I have to say the genre has disappointed in a big way.
  6. Feb 24, 2013
    7
    While it may not be scary, The good plot and the solid acting by the cast makes this movie worth watching. It's easily one of the better horror movies I have seen in recent years.
  7. Sep 16, 2014
    10
    Sinister is one of creepiest dangerous , criminal acts movies of the year 2012 you could tell this is the conjuring vibe you can tell by the music this is the most shocking film by Scott Derickson that i have ever seen. But to be honest its a little bit better then James Wan's The Conjuring. (but honestly nothing is better then the conjuring ) I think that this more messed up thenSinister is one of creepiest dangerous , criminal acts movies of the year 2012 you could tell this is the conjuring vibe you can tell by the music this is the most shocking film by Scott Derickson that i have ever seen. But to be honest its a little bit better then James Wan's The Conjuring. (but honestly nothing is better then the conjuring ) I think that this more messed up then Saw. But if you like Saw , Insidious then watch the horror's legend horror film ' Sinister '. Grade A+ Expand
  8. Jun 2, 2015
    9
    This movie was one of the best horror movies that I have ever seen and I think that's because it is a good blend of a few other genres of film but on top of it all its really scary. I found myself very scared throughout this movie which is kind of a rarity for me unless I'm watching one of the classic horror films. I love the crime aspect of this movie, I think every human being secretThis movie was one of the best horror movies that I have ever seen and I think that's because it is a good blend of a few other genres of film but on top of it all its really scary. I found myself very scared throughout this movie which is kind of a rarity for me unless I'm watching one of the classic horror films. I love the crime aspect of this movie, I think every human being secret loves a good serial killer film because we are so mesmerised with how their brains work. This film has a few twists along the way and really does leave you guessing until the very end. Ethan Hawke was amazing in this film as well. This guy could be the horror king if he wanted to, I'd like to see him in more films like this. If you are a horror fan please watch Sinister. Expand
  9. Mar 22, 2015
    8
    This is more of a drama than a horror film.But the movie still has some effective "scary" scenes.The movie is kind of slow and the horror is present in the end but,the movie is pretty entertaining and Ethan Hawke is really good.
  10. Apr 7, 2013
    5
    This is a horror movie that is trying really hard to be a real horror. The problem is, it isn't. While there are a few genuinely creepy moments, generally it is rather dull with little excitement. There is very little atmosphere and rather dry dialogue. The movie feels like it would have been better had it been made by a bunch of college freshmen as a school project. Other than Hawke'sThis is a horror movie that is trying really hard to be a real horror. The problem is, it isn't. While there are a few genuinely creepy moments, generally it is rather dull with little excitement. There is very little atmosphere and rather dry dialogue. The movie feels like it would have been better had it been made by a bunch of college freshmen as a school project. Other than Hawke's character, you really do not care at all about any of the other characters and they barely seem relevant other than being plot devices.

    Overall:
    While I like the idea behind this movie and I did try to like it. It just failed to impress on any level. An OK horror movie that really is nothing special.
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  11. Jan 19, 2016
    8
    This movie gave me a creep. I haven’t slept for a couple of nights because of this movie.

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  12. Sep 2, 2014
    9
    "Sinister" better-than-average modern horror flick, and, while it may be similar to "The Ring" in some aspects, it's still an entertaining and scary film with a good twist ending.
  13. Nov 13, 2014
    9
    "Sinister" 10 Scale Rating: 8.5 (Excellent) ...

    The Good: The right blend of gore and spookiness that makes a horror movie entertaining. In most modern horror tales, the "boogie man" is far more interesting when you only catch glimpses and becomes silly and not very frightening once you see them in all their glory. "Sinister" does not suffer from this as the film's villain is kept in
    "Sinister" 10 Scale Rating: 8.5 (Excellent) ...

    The Good: The right blend of gore and spookiness that makes a horror movie entertaining. In most modern horror tales, the "boogie man" is far more interesting when you only catch glimpses and becomes silly and not very frightening once you see them in all their glory. "Sinister" does not suffer from this as the film's villain is kept in the shadows just enough to retain his mystery and scariness. The story is a creative one. Wrong at times, gleefully so, but still creative and entertaining all the same.

    The Bad: For a few moments, the imagery was pretty horrible and that might rub some the wrong way. I was fine with it as it helped tell the story, but some might not agree. While the film strays from most cliches, it does have a few too many "jumpy" scenes where nothing really happens. Those scenes almost felt like filler and while I accept these scenes as horror film staples, this film could have had a few less.
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  14. Feb 2, 2013
    9
    A solid Thriller that will have you sitting in fear for most of the movie! It's a fairly simplistic plot but has you guessing throughout it as to what is actually going on in this house and with author Ellison Oswalt. The 'bughuul' is rather terrifying but he is nothing compared to a crop of kids that will scare the sh!t out of you! It's nothing that hasn't been done before but there areA solid Thriller that will have you sitting in fear for most of the movie! It's a fairly simplistic plot but has you guessing throughout it as to what is actually going on in this house and with author Ellison Oswalt. The 'bughuul' is rather terrifying but he is nothing compared to a crop of kids that will scare the sh!t out of you! It's nothing that hasn't been done before but there are some fresh ideas in here that made it very enjoyable to watch, but probably don't watch it alone! Expand
  15. Feb 20, 2016
    7
    Brilliant acting from Ethan Hawke and creepy story will make you dream nightmares for sure! With few boring and weak scenes, overall this is a great movie for all horror lovers!
  16. Jul 21, 2013
    7
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Sinister is a great horror film with some mystery in it and is keeps you interested throughout the whole movie. There is only one bad thing on Sinister. The ending. Though the film is well directed and it has its scary moments there is a bad ending which ruins the whole movie. it doesn't explain you why this all happened and how is it possible for the kids to do that things. That is the bad thing about that movie. Though it is scary and it keeps you it has a bad ending which doesn't make sense. Too bad. However you will enjoy that film and you may bricks. In the good way Expand
  17. Apr 4, 2016
    5
    Something wicked comes creaking along the floorboards in “Sinister” before racing prematurely out the door. Ethan Hawke plays a true-crime author who, when this creepy horror flick opens, is moving his family into a house where another family was slaughtered. He’s investigating the murders for his next book and tells his wife it’s the only house they can afford. The tree from which membersSomething wicked comes creaking along the floorboards in “Sinister” before racing prematurely out the door. Ethan Hawke plays a true-crime author who, when this creepy horror flick opens, is moving his family into a house where another family was slaughtered. He’s investigating the murders for his next book and tells his wife it’s the only house they can afford. The tree from which members of the other family were hanged — a scene that the director Scott Derrickson, who shows it several times, is clearly proud of — looms in a picture window like an omen.

    A twitchy Mr. Hawke builds a persuasive portrait of desperation with little help from the script and despite playing a character who makes so many mistakes he might as well be on a suicide mission. Mr. Derrickson, keeping the lights dimmed, effectively puts his pieces into play, even if their familiarity — a man struggling with his art, his foolishly supportive wife, children in peril, possible evil — brings to mind superior entertainments like “Rosemary’s Baby” and “The Shining.” Mr. Derrickson’s cleverest detail is the box of Super-8 home movies that turn out to be diabolical mementos and which suggest that film, even when it’s small gauge, is one awesomely powerful medium.
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  18. Apr 25, 2015
    6
    Someone finally figured out a way to make the concept of "found footage" interesting, and it's by incorporating it into the film's overall scope rather than employing it as the governing factor. Sinister is an intense horror film that starts out masquerading as something more mundane. It's hair-raising and gripping, although some of its narrative turns require a significant level ofSomeone finally figured out a way to make the concept of "found footage" interesting, and it's by incorporating it into the film's overall scope rather than employing it as the governing factor. Sinister is an intense horror film that starts out masquerading as something more mundane. It's hair-raising and gripping, although some of its narrative turns require a significant level of "suspension of disbelief." In true horror movie tradition, characters do things that are head-scratchingly dumb. Once you accept those logic-defying moments, the movie works with diabolical effectiveness. And, even though the ending is inescapable (and therefore predictable), that does little to diminish its effectiveness.

    Sinister opens with a disturbing scene: a Super-8 "home movie" that shows the hanging deaths of four people. As the narrative progresses, we learn that this is one of several amateur snuff films in existence. There's one of a family burning to death in a car, one of a multiple drowning, one where victims have their throats slit, and a particularly nasty one in which the murder weapon is a lawn mower. During the course of Sinister's running, we see all (or almost all) of these Super 8 movies; the rest of the film is presented using traditional, 3rd-person cinematography (non-shaky cam variety). One element that makes the "found footage" approach work uncommonly well in Sinister is that it doesn’t hijack the style. There's no lingering question about why someone is always filming.

    For about the first 30 minutes, Sinister unfolds more like a mystery/thriller than a horror excusrion as Ellison's investigation points toward the possible involvement of a serial killer. Then unexplained things begin to happen: loud noises in the attic, a film projector starting on its own, and a demonic face moving in a supposedly "still" photograph on a computer screen.

    Sinister features its share of effective "boo!" moments. The makeup for the mysterious figure is well-done. It's genuinely unsettling and doesn't feel like a re-harsh of any of the horror movie icons. Also, because it's shown only fleetingly, it never loses its power to disturb as a result of overexposure. Director Scott Derrickson (whose resume includes the first-person horror film The Exorcism of Emily Rose as well as the big-budget remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still) develops an atmosphere that emphasizes isolation and claustrophobia. Aside from a friendly local deputy (James Ransone), Ellison has no one beyond his immediate family to turn to for support. There's no generic best friend or brother. The suspense builds in tandem with a burgeoning sense of doom. It's a slow-burn approach that may not work on those infected with a need for brash, fast-paced gore-fests. Sinister is plenty grisly, but some of the bloodiest instances are left to the viewer's imagination.

    In developing Sinister, director Derrickson and his co-writer, C. Robert Cargill, display an unerring understanding of what will unsettle viewers in a darkened auditorium. They borrow liberally from earlier horror efforts, with The Shining being the most obvious influence. Derrickson's use of sound is particularly important. The bumps in the night are loud enough to cause viewers to jump in their seats and Christopher Young's discordant score is perfect for the material. It has been a long time since there has been a genuinely creepy horror movie available to audiences in search of a good Halloween scare; Sinister provides that missing October ingredient.
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  19. Feb 16, 2013
    3
    If you want a better take of this story, watch the brilliant 'Insidious'. Sinister on the other hand feels so by the numbers...family moved to a house, said house is 'haunted'..BOO! While it tries so hard to be scary, it just ends up being boring. Avoid this.
  20. Jan 28, 2013
    6
    A few months back, I saw "The Apparition" and "The Possession"--two would-be horror films that were so utterly boring and generic that they blur together to the point that I now struggle to remember what detail belonged to which film. I suspect in three months time I will be saying the same thing about "Sinister". As mainstream US horror movies go, Scott Derrickson first gained attentionA few months back, I saw "The Apparition" and "The Possession"--two would-be horror films that were so utterly boring and generic that they blur together to the point that I now struggle to remember what detail belonged to which film. I suspect in three months time I will be saying the same thing about "Sinister". As mainstream US horror movies go, Scott Derrickson first gained attention with the success of "The Exorcism of Emily Rose" and then the widely disliked remake of "The Day the Earth Stood Still". The film follows true-crime writer Ellison Oswalt (Ethan Hawke) as he discovers a box of home movies that puts his family in eminent danger. Ellison Oswalt moves himself and his family in to a house where a horrific crime took place earlier, but his family doesn't know. He is trying to find out more about the crime so he can write a new book about it to help his flailing career. He uses some "snuff" film that he finds which show the crimes to help in his research, but he soon finds more than he bargained for. Some credit is due for an intriguing twist to the central concept, blending what's happening in the reels with the actual action on-screen. This is what provides the film's best jump-out-of-your-seat moments, with Hawke giving a solid lead performance as the "cardigan-clad" Ellison. Unfortunately, the film become less effective and more predictable as the film's narrative meanders on of just more of the same. Day turns to night, the projector film rolls, creepy noises are coming from the attic, and it's time to go investigate. The best spook house flicks offer credible reasons why the family stay in such a terrifying environment. Yet "Sinister" struggles to convince us. It takes sometime to determine if you are watching a film about the mundane activities of a killer, or a haunted house story as the film seems to wander aimlessly. Hawke is subjected to horrific experiences yet unbelievably brushes them off. He keeps it all from his family which is some feat given the loud racket every night which his wife happily sleeps through. Nothing ground breaking here, but I would recommend picking this up at your nearest RedBox for a late night watch for those who enjoy horror flicks. Expand
  21. Jun 4, 2013
    7
    "Sinister not suffering from much horror cliches. Is actually a great horror film, that is well written, great performance by Ethan Hawke and actually some smart thrills. made me jump. Needless to say Sinister is that scary movie we all need and crave." B
  22. Oct 17, 2012
    5
    The only horror film i had hopes for this year and once again i was disappointed. It definitely had a few moments of terror throughout the film but as a whole this movie was a letdown. Especially the ending, i was expecting something awesome, but then it was just like "oh, exactly what i thought was going to happen happened" i honest to god predicted the ending in the first five minutes ofThe only horror film i had hopes for this year and once again i was disappointed. It definitely had a few moments of terror throughout the film but as a whole this movie was a letdown. Especially the ending, i was expecting something awesome, but then it was just like "oh, exactly what i thought was going to happen happened" i honest to god predicted the ending in the first five minutes of the movie. Sinister is a letdown for me but im sure others will enjoy. Give it a shot but whatever you do, don't get your hopes up. 4.5/10 Expand
  23. Aug 24, 2015
    6
    Reviewing this for comparison against Sinister 2. Sinister had some good acting talent behind it with Ethan Hawke as the tortured protagonist of the film. The film is a little too reliant on jumpscares but it still has its creepy moments. First viewing I thought the film was rather well done but on second I saw it as a reasonable effort but nothing too special. The main villain has aReviewing this for comparison against Sinister 2. Sinister had some good acting talent behind it with Ethan Hawke as the tortured protagonist of the film. The film is a little too reliant on jumpscares but it still has its creepy moments. First viewing I thought the film was rather well done but on second I saw it as a reasonable effort but nothing too special. The main villain has a creepy design, but some jump scares in this film are just too cheap. I give this a 6.5/10, but will keep it at a 6/10 on metacritics score. Expand
  24. Sep 4, 2015
    7
    Sinister is a very good horror film that uses scary imagery and heart wrenching suspense to scare the audience despite having a relatively familiar plot and characters.
  25. Dec 8, 2012
    7
    Sinister is one of those films that are not scary on the whole but the little bits and a few scenes such as ghosts walking around you, strange sounds in the attic, things happening on their own, which despite of being typical and somewhat perdictable, manage to give you slight scares. The concept of the film is really different and amazing but it's execution is not brilliant, at least, notSinister is one of those films that are not scary on the whole but the little bits and a few scenes such as ghosts walking around you, strange sounds in the attic, things happening on their own, which despite of being typical and somewhat perdictable, manage to give you slight scares. The concept of the film is really different and amazing but it's execution is not brilliant, at least, not to me. Ethan Hawke's performance is the one thing that keeps you connected with the film and obviously, the main storyline of the film. At some points, it all feels pointless but if we look closer, the connection of the murders is present and is explained as well. I don't know why would anyone move into a house where the murders happened and not tell his own wife about it. This seems freaky. Ethan's character is really freaky, he gets obsessed with this stuff and that's what costs him and his entire family. This film does not offer blood and gore, what it offers requires your complete attention and concentration in the storyline. Honestly, my expectations were not high and I think it's a good thing because I am completely satisfied with this movie. Not scary, but this isn't a bad film either especially in 2012, when majority of the horror films sucked. Expand
  26. Oct 26, 2012
    6
    The goal of a horror movie is to scare you, it succeeded. the script a little loose in the middle and the end nothing relevant, perhaps more of the same, but if the film is good.
  27. Feb 23, 2013
    8
    This was a decent horror actually, one of the best I've seen in a while. The pacing is very good and it stays creepy throughout. I felt a genuine sense of dread on more than one occassion. It's in the vein of the Ring, with that kind of moody, atmospheric horror that relies on building up suspense rather than bludgeoning you with explanations too early. It leaves lots to your imaginationThis was a decent horror actually, one of the best I've seen in a while. The pacing is very good and it stays creepy throughout. I felt a genuine sense of dread on more than one occassion. It's in the vein of the Ring, with that kind of moody, atmospheric horror that relies on building up suspense rather than bludgeoning you with explanations too early. It leaves lots to your imagination and feeds it at the right pace. Very clever film and quite underated by critics for some reason. Go by the user score on this one. Expand
  28. Dec 30, 2014
    7
    Sinister is a 2012 slasher horror film directed by Scott Derrickson and written by Derrickson and C. Robert Cargill. It stars Ethan Hawke as fictional true-crime writer Ellison Oswalt who discovers a box of home movies in his attic that puts his family in danger. Sinister premiered at the SXSW festival, and was released in the United States on October 12, 2012, and in the UK on October 5, 2012.
  29. Dec 30, 2014
    8
    One of the most scariest horror movies, I have ever seen! The beginning is great, it setups a great story f the movie and the mystery starts with a lot of scares. The ending is alittle bad. But overall 90 percent of the movie is great!
  30. Jul 6, 2013
    6
    Fairly bland, honestly. It's not all that scary. Ethan Hawke does a solid job. The lighting is terrible. There are literally never lights on in the house for whatever reason. Slightly above average horror fare, but nothing remarkable. 5.8/10
Metascore
53

Mixed or average reviews - based on 30 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 30
  2. Negative: 3 out of 30
  1. Arizona Republic
    Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Oct 23, 2012
    80
    Now this is a scary movie. And, given that it's a horror film, that means it's a good one. [18 Oct 2012]
  2. Reviewed by: Joshua Rothkopf
    Oct 16, 2012
    60
    Sinister has so much going for it - adult psychology, a great bitchfest of a marital meltdown - that you wince when it finally makes some rather dull choices involving the supernatural.
  3. 20
    Sinister did something I thought would be impossible: It made this lifelong horror freak abhor horror movies.