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

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 243 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
    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
    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
    Even though the ending is inescapable (and therefore predictable), that does little to diminish its effectiveness.
  4. Reviewed by: Marjorie Baumgarten
    Oct 10, 2012
    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
    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
    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
    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: 57 out of 77
  2. Negative: 7 out of 77
  1. Feb 21, 2013
    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! Expand
  2. Feb 19, 2013
    This 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
    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 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 3, 2013
    I really wanted this movie to be scary...because it's been awhile since I've seen a really good horror movie. However this movie didn't deliver from start to end It just wasn't as scary throughout as it could have been. There was a lot of promise in the beginning but the ending disappoints. Would I recommend that you watch it? Sure, it does have some scary parts and it is generally creepy. Expand
  5. Dec 8, 2012
    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, 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
  6. Jan 28, 2013
    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 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. Sep 29, 2013
    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. Expand

See all 77 User Reviews