User Score
7.3

Generally favorable reviews- based on 266 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 18 out of 266
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  1. Oct 12, 2012
    8
    Though its previews give Sinister the appearance of a by-the-numbers fright flick, or perhaps some crummy J-horror ripoff, the end results are different, and decidedly better. Ethan Hawke stars as Ellison Oswalt, a true-crime novelist who moves his family into a home which doubles as the site of several ghastly murders. Tellingly he plans to write about them without telling his wifeThough its previews give Sinister the appearance of a by-the-numbers fright flick, or perhaps some crummy J-horror ripoff, the end results are different, and decidedly better. Ethan Hawke stars as Ellison Oswalt, a true-crime novelist who moves his family into a home which doubles as the site of several ghastly murders. Tellingly he plans to write about them without telling his wife (Rylance) or children (D'Addario, Foley). Ellison uncovers reels documenting the crime along with footage of other killings. Upon viewing the murders, he sees a common thread, which then begins to weave itself into his family's life. Rounding out the cast are a disapproving local sheriff (Thompson), his eager-to-please deputy (Ransone), and a college professor (D'Onofrio) only present via webcam. Sinister works on a small scale, but uses this to its advantage; its few characters and fewer locations provide a more claustrophobic feel to draw the audience in and aid the story's horror. Writer/director Scott Derrickson and fellow writer C. Robert Cargill occasionally allow the film and plot to resemble other genre standards (namely The Exorcist, Poltergeist, The Ring, and The Shining) but refrain from hackneying or reproducing the works that inspired them. Though some moments dip into silliness and others into stupidity, Sinister reveals itself as a surprisingly satisfying experience. Its scares do scare and its horror does horrify. Those hoping for a gore fest are advised to sit this one out. Those who want to be frightened while being entertained would do well to see Sinister. Expand
  2. Nov 9, 2012
    8
    Ah, the creators of Paranormal Activity and Insidious bring us this well strapped together, macabre film we know as "Sinister." Now, as this film starts off we see that the family we are spectating, are moving into a new house, the father, Ellison (Ethan Hawke) Is looking to write a book based off of the dark and eerie murders that took place in just the back yard of their residence. HeAh, the creators of Paranormal Activity and Insidious bring us this well strapped together, macabre film we know as "Sinister." Now, as this film starts off we see that the family we are spectating, are moving into a new house, the father, Ellison (Ethan Hawke) Is looking to write a book based off of the dark and eerie murders that took place in just the back yard of their residence. He then finds boxes with an old film projector and Super 8 tapes. Inside these very tapes lie the twisted deaths that the previous families living in these homes met. I will start off by saying this is an exceptionally written and acted film, I felt the characters were very believable and realistic. The scares weren't cheap at all, very real and clever. The soundtrack also worked very well, as their mellow tones met well with the overall theme of the film. The only complaint I have to make about this film is how the main villain/demon Baghuul, kept sticking his face directly in the camera. I found that to be a nuisance. Overall, Sinister is a chilling, creepy 8.5/10. Expand
  3. Oct 13, 2012
    7
    Sinister brings an interesting idea to the horror genre, but sadly, it fails to fully flesh it out. Slowly it begins to fall into horror cliches, and what is in my opinion a very lackluster ending. Taking this aside, yes at times Sinister can be disturbing, even if the trailer shows all the scares we still jump out our skin, and as the main character begins to figure out whats going on, itSinister brings an interesting idea to the horror genre, but sadly, it fails to fully flesh it out. Slowly it begins to fall into horror cliches, and what is in my opinion a very lackluster ending. Taking this aside, yes at times Sinister can be disturbing, even if the trailer shows all the scares we still jump out our skin, and as the main character begins to figure out whats going on, it gets you hooked. The tape sequences are also very interesting and will have you thinking about for weeks. But, overall, the film just simply fails to bring anything new to the genre, with scares predictable, and to many cliches to count. Expand
  4. Nov 1, 2012
    8
    Scariest movie out there by far! This film has you thinking throughout the whole film. Much scarier than Paranormal Activity. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  5. 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
  6. Jul 21, 2013
    9
    Not many horror movies make the jeeper creepers jump out of me, but this one definitely takes the cake. The flow from scene to scene and the dramatic sounds and camera angles coincided with each other very well. I would recommend this movie to anyone that wants a late night scare.
  7. Jul 13, 2013
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Sinister is a 2012 horror film directed by Scott Derrickson (The Exorcism of Emily Rose) with Ethan Hawke and Vincent D'Onofrio.
    The film is about Oswalt Ellison, a writer of chronicles black that, with the book Kentucky Blood, managed to get a huge success, but now his latest books have not been successful and then to find a new story that can give him the same success he had with Kentucky Blood, Ellison decided to move his family to a house in King Country, where a family was hanged on a tree branch while the youngest child was gone. While he wanders the house, Ellison is a black box in the attic that includes home movies amateur super 8 that show the death of the family who lived in that house before he and other families killed in the past. From that moment Ellison will have to deal with mysterious forces and disturbing.
    Sinister does not have a particularly original plot, indeed, one can say that it is the plot of many other horror movies, but the thing that makes this film is really nice the way it was done. Scott Derrickson proved to be a good director succeeding, so also original to disturb and scare us (just think of the movies, which displays the killings of other families) and also manages to make good use of cliches. Also excellent ending that manages to scare the viewer even more.
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  8. 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
  9. Jan 20, 2013
    6
    Sinister is refreshing and omni-effective as a horror film; the blend of anxiety and discomfort forces the viewer to attach the character
  10. 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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  11. Nov 28, 2012
    9
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. This film is incredible, the best film I've seen all year, it takes a lot to make me jump in a horror movie and this one made me jump twice in my books that's impressive. I was a bit skeptical at first but this film proved to be worth my time, this film escapes the cliche of a psycho murderer and I thought it was quite a clever plot although I think that it was a bit weird that they have the youngest child possessed by some sort of cult and killing their family members in gruesome bloody ways. However it was clever because no-one would suspect a child who is portrayed as innocent an sane who then disappears after murdering their family and have you believe that it was a murder and child abduction case. I also thought the mask was incredible and creepy. Loved this film. Expand
  12. Oct 20, 2012
    8
    Quite an interesting horror film. Not typical of recent entries into the Horror genre, it is one that is more psychological than physical horror. The movie follows a "True Crime" writer who moves his family into a house where the previous family had been killed and upon further investigation discovers that this murder may have been part of a larger chain of events dating back severalQuite an interesting horror film. Not typical of recent entries into the Horror genre, it is one that is more psychological than physical horror. The movie follows a "True Crime" writer who moves his family into a house where the previous family had been killed and upon further investigation discovers that this murder may have been part of a larger chain of events dating back several decades. The first act is rather slow but necessary to the big events in the second and third acts of the film.
    If you like true horror films (not slasher flicks like Friday the 13th,"torture-porn" movies like Saw or even "sci-fi" horror like Resident Evil, actual HORROR films) this one is for you. Otherwise you'd best stay away.
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  13. Oct 12, 2012
    9
    After a once-successful author decides to move his family into a house where a heinous murder took place, things start to get weird. That is great for the viewer and bad for the family. This film is a nightmarish voyage into the past of unsolved murders and how the missing link doesn't always need to be found. The chills are perfectly timed and the pace of this thrilling horror film isAfter a once-successful author decides to move his family into a house where a heinous murder took place, things start to get weird. That is great for the viewer and bad for the family. This film is a nightmarish voyage into the past of unsolved murders and how the missing link doesn't always need to be found. The chills are perfectly timed and the pace of this thrilling horror film is perfect, weaving in and out of states of undeniable tension with little effort. Ethan Hawke is superb as the the distraught author. This isn't a by-the-numbers genre piece. It packs soe interesting surprises. And it doesn't hold back on the thrills, chills, and gore. For the most part, this is what horror should be. The flaw, and not really a big one, is that yet again a horror movie features characters that do not act rationally. Still, that's a minor setback to an otherwise perfect gem of taught horror. Expand
  14. Oct 13, 2012
    7
    It was definitely a decent film, it is truly hard to find a scary movie of such high caliber now a days as many rely heavily on blood and gore and cheap scares needless to say this film did in fact have its share of them. The movie is physiologically boggling and the plot and story captivate the viewer and raises anticipation and anxiety within the viewer. It is quite clever for a film ofIt was definitely a decent film, it is truly hard to find a scary movie of such high caliber now a days as many rely heavily on blood and gore and cheap scares needless to say this film did in fact have its share of them. The movie is physiologically boggling and the plot and story captivate the viewer and raises anticipation and anxiety within the viewer. It is quite clever for a film of its class and has a good amount of good scares and jump scenes and clever and delightfully frighting visuals and images. The movies though lacks a consistent base and drifts off into a somewhat absurd heavily rigidity plot which makes the reviewer scratch his head and wonder whats going on, the logic of some of the characters is also somewhat questionable and you can't help but face palm at some of the character's decisions. Another factor is its use of cliche scares such as the good old but overly used popping out of nowhere in your face scare which always leads to a good jump but not quite satisfying as you feel the plot is driven more by cheap scares. The plot is also quite complicated to understand but in the end it ends up being a rather well thought of and daring film that can actually be considered "chilling" the film never failed to surprise aside from the end and it gets a well deserved thumbs up. Best scary movie I have seen in years. Expand
  15. Dec 7, 2012
    4
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Sinister is one of those paranormal, occult movies I've been waiting to play in theaters; however, after watching this film I was left disappointed. The ending was too obvious. The storyline was dragged on, wasted, and never even met it's climax. The character's names aren't even memorable. It had the stereotypical annoying, jobless wife or the "housewife", creepy kids, and an obsessed writer. The writer of this film took no authentic advantages of the daughter who was seeing Stephanie, or the son and his night terrors. The son could of been dreaming and the demon thing could've started appearing in his dreams as if it was trying to possess him and that could've been why his night terrors were progressive; and, the daughter was used at the very end, but there were no evident changing behaviors like her drawing pictures of their family dying or her saying weird things. But, instead, It's like the children were just "there". There are no other settings in the movie, in which eliminates the chances for striking, memorable scenes or encounters. Happenings like the skinny policeman or deputy sneaking data for the dad's book and the old deputy/sheriff guy getting suspicious, or the old guy checking up on the dad trying to see what he's up to or taking his tapes and data. Or, kids being bullied, and teachers worried about the son or daughter's behavior or drawings. Or, neighbors and townspeople giving the family crazy looks or disapproval like the wife said they were. Or even, the dad could have hallucinated the demon/children soul-eater thing in a library when researching or asking neighbors about the past family who lived in that house. In his son's room, IT could've been standing or kneeling beside his son's bed while his son is sleeping and whispering into his son's ear of something to possess him all while the dad can't even see IT, then later his son has another night terror. Or, the dad could be hallucinating about IT in public places because of obsession to his "detective work". They never even showed the dad trying to start writing his new book. After they moved, that should have been the half-mark of the movie, because so much could have happened then. At the end, they could've at least added a special scene where the police find their bodies, take the tapes into evidence, then watch them appalled. Overall, although I expected more out of Sinister, the eerie sounds and music, the disturbing kill scenes, the creepy pool scene where you first see IT, the use of the manual, old, and new technology (homemade evidence board, film projector, and the laptop), and seeing Ethan Hawke in a new movie made it likeable. Expand
  16. Nov 23, 2012
    10
    By far one of the best horror movies made in 2012. The action begins to build up right from the beginning and the suspense makes you watch it until the end. It is the kind of movie that lets you know when you will get scared, but makes sure you will still jump or scream. Even if there is nothing surprising in the story, the music and the dark atmosphere transform the movie into a spookyBy far one of the best horror movies made in 2012. The action begins to build up right from the beginning and the suspense makes you watch it until the end. It is the kind of movie that lets you know when you will get scared, but makes sure you will still jump or scream. Even if there is nothing surprising in the story, the music and the dark atmosphere transform the movie into a spooky experience. Expand
  17. Nov 25, 2012
    8
    WOW... I expected nothing of this movie... I was so damn scary. At least the most scariest movie this year. What scene gives me the most creeps especially?? the pool scene on the tape. That thing what ate the kids looks nothing alike in the other tapes. It was if he had a very long nose, whaha.. Ands all those kids in the attic freaks me out too. I have to check all of my paintings tonight :P
  18. Feb 21, 2013
    10
    Sinister is a very creepy and jumpy film! I definitely had nightmares for a few days! If you're into the horror genre, you wouldn't want to miss out on Sinister!
  19. Oct 12, 2012
    5
    This film is more creepy and messed up than it is actually scary. All but one of the films scares are jump scares, and they're shown in the trailer. Really this is just like "Insidious" just with more gruesome killings. Not an awful movie, just not really scary. I will sleep fine tonight.
  20. Oct 12, 2012
    2
    Sinister was a movie that I had happily be awaiting for some time. I really wanted to see if this movie could successfully scare me. The trailers looked good enough to convince me to drop 12 bucks and see what was up. What I got was a series of predicable scares, a villain who is completely useless, and road map for the last act of the film. If you pay attention to the movie, evenSinister was a movie that I had happily be awaiting for some time. I really wanted to see if this movie could successfully scare me. The trailers looked good enough to convince me to drop 12 bucks and see what was up. What I got was a series of predicable scares, a villain who is completely useless, and road map for the last act of the film. If you pay attention to the movie, even with one eye open and half asleep, you can see every twist and turn this movie has coming by at least 10 mins before it does. Not to say the jump scares don't make you jump, they do, but for what? This movie is advertised as a horror movie with an actual story.. and sad to say It just isn't here. The last 5 min of the movie feel so lazy I was blown away, it just sort of stops. As if the movie is saying, "I'm bored of entertaining you... go home." I won't go into detail for spoiler sake, but instead of keeping adrenaline high an going out with a bang, this movie plays it safe, and you walk out of the theater with none of the scares or really anything for that matter to remember. I really wanted to love this movie and all it had to offer, but clearly this is one best saved for catching on a random day when it hits HBOGO. Expand
  21. Dec 20, 2012
    3
    Cheap scares here! The movie is a real cliché of the horror genre. Boring, badly acted, pretentious, dull, no suspense at all. You can see the ending coming from a mile.......Ethan Hawke what a waste of talent there...
  22. 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
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. Oct 24, 2012
    7
    I thought the film was pretty good for the price I paid to see it. It was more eerie than scary but had a couple of "oh crap!" moments that catch you off guard. I thought Ethan Hawke did an awesome job acting as a progressively semi-crazy individual. My only complaint would be that the audience needs more of a history lesson in the origins of the demon and why He/It does what He/It does.I thought the film was pretty good for the price I paid to see it. It was more eerie than scary but had a couple of "oh crap!" moments that catch you off guard. I thought Ethan Hawke did an awesome job acting as a progressively semi-crazy individual. My only complaint would be that the audience needs more of a history lesson in the origins of the demon and why He/It does what He/It does. All-in-all, a pretty good flick. Expand
  26. 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.
  27. Sep 29, 2013
    0
    0 is a bening review for this piece of mediocre and stupid crap done for the mindless masses from sinister Hollywood. The only thing it produces is lotes of yawns an ocasional laughters.
  28. Oct 13, 2012
    6
    I will agree with tropicAces with the "creepy more than scary" description, but I think that is the reason for whatever success the film has. The weakest parts of Sinister were the force-fed "ghosts" that seemed to interrupt the decline of our protagonist's state of mind. Their participation was inconsistent and didn't really make all that much sense to me. Sinister works because it isI will agree with tropicAces with the "creepy more than scary" description, but I think that is the reason for whatever success the film has. The weakest parts of Sinister were the force-fed "ghosts" that seemed to interrupt the decline of our protagonist's state of mind. Their participation was inconsistent and didn't really make all that much sense to me. Sinister works because it is unsettling on several levels, one of which is a real-life conflict that I am sure strikes fear into the hearts of many people on a daily basis: failure. With a career, family, marriage, and mental stability all in danger of failing, a sense of desperation leaks into every corner of Hawke's character's life. That combined with a new angle (though not fleshed out entirely, the villain is kind of freaky) make it a worthy watch. Expand
  29. Oct 14, 2012
    2
    I was very disappointed with this movie. It's filled to the brim with cliches and predictability. It's basically 110 minutes of mostly painfully bad acting, with some snuff films tucked inside. I thought there would have been more focus on the footage, like a Paranormal Activity type deal with a different spin on it,but I'm not basing my dissatisfaction on what I was expecting. It reallyI was very disappointed with this movie. It's filled to the brim with cliches and predictability. It's basically 110 minutes of mostly painfully bad acting, with some snuff films tucked inside. I thought there would have been more focus on the footage, like a Paranormal Activity type deal with a different spin on it,but I'm not basing my dissatisfaction on what I was expecting. It really didn't deliver much on scares or creepiness for me. I always expect horror movies to be bad on some level, in fact I enjoy that aspect to them, but this....just pass on this one. I do have to give some major respect for using a Boards of Canada song, though--that was a pleasant surprise. Expand
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. 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.