Sinister (2012) - Rotten Tomatoes

Sinister (2012)



Critic Consensus: Its plot hinges on typically implausible horror-movie behavior and recycles countless genre cliches, but Sinister delivers a surprising number of fresh, diabolical twists.

Movie Info

Sinister is a frightening new thriller from the producer of the Paranormal Activity films and the writer-director of The Exorcism of Emily Rose. Ethan Hawke plays a true crime novelist who discovers a box of mysterious, disturbing home movies that plunge his family into a nightmarish experience of supernatural horror. -- (C) Summitmore
Rating: R (for disturbing violent images and some terror)
Genre: Horror
Directed By:
Written By: Scott Derrickson, C. Robert Cargill, Scott Derrickson &
In Theaters:
On DVD: Feb 19, 2013
Box Office: $48.1M
Lionsgate Films - Official Site


Ethan Hawke
as Ellison Oswalt
Rob Riley
as E.M.T.
Janet Zappala
as Reporter
Victoria Leigh
as Stephanie
Ethan Haberfield
as Pool Party Boy
Danielle Kotch
as Lawn Work Girl
Blake Mizrahi
as Sleepy Time Boy
Nick King
as Bughuul/Mr. Boogie
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Sinister

Critic Reviews for Sinister

All Critics (133) | Top Critics (26)

Even the daytime scenes are shrouded in such deep shadows, you're mainly left wondering why nobody ever just turns on the damn lights.

Full Review… | May 3, 2015
Philadelphia Weekly

In its own right, it's atmospheric, just not very memorable or scary.

Full Review… | January 7, 2014
Cinema Crazed

One of the more authentically scary horror thrillers to haunt the screen in some time, a product of smart filmmaking, intriguing premise and a great lead performance from Ethan Hawke.

Full Review… | June 11, 2013
Matt's Movie Reviews

Highly effective, tense little fright rouser... If you're a horror fan, you won't be disappointed.

Full Review… | June 10, 2013

Hawke brings a gravitas to the role of parent and home protector that is of far greater interest than the film itself.

Full Review… | June 2, 2013

Sinister is a subtle, poetic inquisition into the hypnotic power of horrific images ... oh and it's frightening entertainment at its best.

Full Review… | May 31, 2013
2UE That Movie Show

Audience Reviews for Sinister

It's been a long time since I can say that a horror flick instilled horror in me...but this one scared the beejeebers out of me. I was completely creeped out throughout the entire movie. Even the background music, and sound effects, were spooking me. I am most definitely going to have trouble sleeping with the lights off tonight. Yikes!

Cynthia S.

Super Reviewer

I was haunted by the ghostly snuff films; something about the scratchy old 8mm films and the satanic music which accompanies the images creeped me out. The rules of the cursed films is quite interesting when realized. Ehan Hawke's curiosity gets the better of him and his family. The plot of the tortured author is getting a bit tired. The boogedy demon in charge of the curse is quite freaky. Things tend to go to hell in the second half, but it fits with the curse. The scene of their boy in the box seemed like a tacked-on red herring to the real horrors. The internet expert and police assistant were a bit silly. The ending was no surprise with not enough tragedy shown to be considered a payoff after sitting through so many scenes of building creepiness.

Lafe Fredbjornson

Super Reviewer


A washed up true crime writer and his family move into a new house where he begins work on a story that he hopes will resurrect his career. After finding a box of super 8 film reels and a projector in the attic, he discovers that the reels are snuff movies, and that he and his family could now be in grave danger.

Taking inspiration from stuff like 8mm and various supernatural chillers, this is a surprisingly solid and effective horror film. While there are scenes of violence, it's not a gorefest, and, amazingly enough trades more in mood and atmosphere to deliver the scares over showing lots of bloodshed. I mean, there is violence, but they only show just enough to get the point across, and more importantly, use it as punctuation to a build up.

There are jump scares, maybe like a handful or so, but for the most part, they work well. Some fall flat, but they most work. One of the crucial elements that really makes this film genuinely eerie and creepy is the music. It's super moody, and pretty groovy. The cinematography is also quite good, and I loved the incorporation of the super 8 footage, though from a story perspective, I'm not sure why it had to be this specifically.

Another nitpicky kind of gripe I have is the film's title. Why call it this? The word sinister isn't said in the movie, but I guess it does fit, if you look at the nature of what happens as being sinister. Other than that though, they could have gone with a better title.

The performances are fine, and the film is well cast. The characters are generally pretty smart, and there are arcs and development, so that's good. The film is generally pretty well written and thought out, and I appreciated that it didn't come off as stupid or dumbed down.

All in all, this is a pretty successful film. It's creepy, fairly intense and disturbing at times, and genuinely quite compelling. Give it a watch.

P.S. There's also a pretty sick sense of humor in places too, which I thought was kinda funny.

Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

Sinister Quotes

– Submitted by Frances H (23 months ago)
– Submitted by David S (2 years ago)
– Submitted by Andrew D (2 years ago)
– Submitted by Nadia S (2 years ago)

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