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

User Score
7.3

Generally favorable reviews- based on 260 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]
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: 61 out of 81
  2. Negative: 7 out of 81
  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. Feb 19, 2013
    9
    This movie is mysterious and chilling. The very core of supernatural horror movies invoking the late Stanley Kubrick's The shinning" in it'sThis movie is mysterious and chilling. The very core of supernatural horror movies invoking the late Stanley Kubrick's The shinning" in it's spine tingling thrills. Expand
  3. 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 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
  4. 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.
  5. 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 betterWhile 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. Expand
  6. 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 theyA 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
  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 81 User Reviews