Sinister

Sinister Image
Metascore
53

Mixed or average reviews - based on 30 Critics What's this?

User Score
7.4

Generally favorable reviews- based on 311 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: A true crime novelist discovers a box of mysterious, disturbing home movies that plunge his family into a nightmarish experience of supernatural horror. [Summit Entertainment]

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 30
  2. Negative: 3 out of 30
  1. Reviewed by: Scott Tobias
    Oct 10, 2012
    83
    It's all done in questionable taste, mucking around in the nasty terrain of snuff films and children in constant peril, but Sinister is smart and well-crafted, and it scarcely gives the audience a moment to breathe.
  2. Reviewed by: Nick Pinkerton
    Oct 9, 2012
    80
    Hawke's taut performance - lightly parodying his own career doldrums while playing an egotistical hack who's a close cousin of John Cassavetes's self-loathing actor in Rosemary's Baby - is totally credible.
  3. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Oct 11, 2012
    75
    Even though the ending is inescapable (and therefore predictable), that does little to diminish its effectiveness.
  4. Reviewed by: Marjorie Baumgarten
    Oct 10, 2012
    50
    The film's sound design is also expertly wrought with a blend of nearly subliminal noises, bumps in the night, and other frights.
  5. Reviewed by: Sara Stewart
    Oct 11, 2012
    50
    Here's the thing: Found footage is scary when - because - it leaves you to fill in a lot of the blanks yourself. But actually watching whole families have terrible things done to them - well, hard-core horror fans may dig it, I guess. I'd call it forced voyeurism of the worst sort.
  6. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Oct 12, 2012
    40
    Pros and cons aside, Sinister has the benefit of arriving in the thick of Halloween season, right when movie-goers are most hungry for a few scares. And they'll get them from Derrickson's film, too.
  7. Reviewed by: James Rocchi
    Oct 10, 2012
    20
    Sinister is pretty much everything to hate about modern horror in one mixed bag, a ramshackle teardown of jump-scares and creaky tricks, saw-it-coming "surprises" and the lead-footed thud of inevitability as it tediously places one clumsy foot in front of the other, plodding towards a finale that comes far too late.

See all 30 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 63 out of 94
  2. Negative: 7 out of 94
  1. 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 toSinister 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! Expand
  2. May 16, 2013
    10
    its pretty good thats why i gave it a 8 its one of the best scary movies i have seen sure it wasnt that scary to me well alot of movies arentits pretty good thats why i gave it a 8 its one of the best scary movies i have seen sure it wasnt that scary to me well alot of movies arent that scary to me but watch it its good Expand
  3. Aug 11, 2013
    9
    This movie is awesome. The idea is commonly used but they did it in a way that works. The story is pretty simple and easy to follow but thatThis movie is awesome. The idea is commonly used but they did it in a way that works. The story is pretty simple and easy to follow but that doesn't make it so that the story sucks. This movie doesn't run on jump scares and instead runs on creepy music/atmosphere which I think they pulled off very well the camera effects like Film Grain and dark lighting give the whole movie a really creepy feeling.

    Overall if your a horror fan and your looking for something good, this is the movie for you!
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  4. Mar 31, 2013
    7
    Although it has allot of the cliché horror film elements it differentiates itself by having good actors (Hawke) and a creepy atmosphere whichAlthough it has allot of the cliché horror film elements it differentiates itself by having good actors (Hawke) and a creepy atmosphere which suggests more scary things could happen than there actually do. Maybe not a classic in the genre but certainly one of the better horror films. Expand
  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"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 Expand
  6. 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 overallSomeone 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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  7. May 24, 2013
    0
    Horrible movie. Way too drawn out and not enough scares. The plot of this movie gives it a nice disturbing feel, but it is not a good horrorHorrible movie. Way too drawn out and not enough scares. The plot of this movie gives it a nice disturbing feel, but it is not a good horror film. I never felt scared the entire movie. Expand

See all 94 User Reviews