Sinister - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Sinister Reviews

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Super Reviewer
September 25, 2012
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!
Super Reviewer
January 4, 2014
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.
Super Reviewer
½ October 25, 2013
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.
Super Reviewer
½ September 2, 2013
The classical Stephen King-like setup of a writer in retreat working on a new novel, combined with "eyewitness procedurals" like Coppola's The Conversation or De Palma's Blow out, and benefited immensely by Ethan Hawke's disturbed performance. A shame about the third act, when the initial subtle and creepy atmosphere is thrown away in favor of low rent and silly trickeries.
Super Reviewer
July 30, 2013
Not the worst certainly not the best horror though! Sinister has its creepy moments but you are left unsatisfied towards the end!
Super Reviewer
October 11, 2012
A great horror film, one of the best I've seen in a long while, will make you jump more than once. It starts out as if it's going to be more of a tracking down a serial killer type film but the supernatural element is handled well. It's very creepy and atmospheric and will keep you glued to your seat all the way through. Don't miss it!
Super Reviewer
June 16, 2012
The supernatural element is haphazardly handled, but, from the music, aesthetics, and performances, wow, is this a brilliant horror film.
Super Reviewer
May 18, 2013
GeeeeeZ! Eh, try turning on some lights. I like Peter Howell's "more stupid than scary" comment : )
Super Reviewer
½ April 25, 2013
Sinister didn't work for me either as mystery or as horror. As far as horror is concerned, children with joker's make-up were hardly scary. The music & the execution are suitable for eighties, if not earlier. The story is too predictable for a mystery flick. Most can figure out outright who the wicker ones are, and what is in store. The performances were as good as the script. Despite the predictable plot, I was looking forward for a twisted ending. It managed to disappoint even there. All the same, glad to know that it served well to majority of its viewers thus far.
Super Reviewer
October 10, 2012
Sinister ended up being a big fat dud for me. I was quite bored with the whole damn thing. Many on here have really liked the movie and have even went as far as to say it's the scariest film they have ever seen. Which I find hard to believe since my 8 year old nephew said, "Man that movie was awful!" after it went off. I'm actually a little bummed I didn't have the same reaction like those who liked it. I was really looking forward to a good scary flick. Instead I got some cheap predictable scares. I will admit that the story isn't too bad. I mean the whole thing is kind of interesting on what is behind the killings. But everything just seemed so long and a big build up to a disappointing climax.
Super Reviewer
½ March 19, 2013
Ethan Hawke stars as a crime story novelist, in need of a new hit. He moves his wife and two kids to a newhome, that housed some murders and finds a box of home movies. Doing his research he watches the movies, which reveal some pretty crazy murders. From there the family starts to be haunted by some dead children and a weird looking figure that shows up in each movie. The atmosphere in this movie is awesome. It has the generic "BOO" moments, but the music and suspense is great. There were a few times the where the tension mounted that I got goose bumps. Ethan Hawke does an awesome job, especially as he gets more and more unhinged. The ending isn't the greatest or anything, but it's very well done. The last few years there's been a lot of bad horror movies, but this is one of the exceptions and is very good. Takes the "haunted" type genre and puts a few unique spins on it. I really liked it, and I'm sure there will be a bunch of sequels, which I'll definitely check out. If your a fan of horror movies then you should absolutely watch this.
Super Reviewer
½ March 17, 2013
Scott Derrickson's Sinister lives up to its title.Giving the impression that something harmful will happen is what this story does. With that said, the pacing is quite slow and the tone does come across monotone at times. Even the ominous atmosphere isn't enough to pick it up.The scares are far and few in between and in fact, it isn't all that scary. This isn't necessarily a flaw because this picture works better as a thriller than a straight up horror. In regards to the violence, it is somewhat light for an R rated movie.The acting is satisfactory thanks to Ethan Hawke. A solid portion of the 105 minute screen time is all Hawke. Fred Dalton Thompson, Vincent D'Onofrio, James Ransone, and Juliet Rylance successfully fill in the rest of the time.Sinister does have its share of pros, along with its share of cons that ultimately cancel each other out.
Super Reviewer
October 1, 2012
The best horror movie from 2012 that I have seen so far. It actually is very scary and has moments outside of the typical Boo! moments that frighten and is very light on the gore, which is atypical of films in this genre in today's age. This is not one of those fast paced horror movies that desensitizes you to the violence by the end (even though the poster suggests it), but rather a deliberately paced and incredibly effective spookfest aimed more at the people who liked the original Paranormal Activity before the series became a cashcow. This isn't a found footage film like Paranormal Activity, but rather one that uses found footage as a part of the story. There's some clever twists and it uses the found footage to enhance the story, rather than as a gimmick. I really don't want to say much about the story, you just have to experience it for yourself, but I found it very satisfying and the ending does not punk out like most horror movies do. Ethan Hawke is effective as the ordinary man and the supporting cast is made up of less known actors, which I like in horror movies because they don't bring any baggage to the role and aren't just their for the paycheck. You feel for the characters and don't see them as other characters they have played before. Sinister offers up some very creepy images and a story that packs a punch. I recommend it to any horror aficionado who is fed up with the current state of the genre like me. It has plenty of surprises up its sleeve.
Super Reviewer
½ February 25, 2013
"Sinister" is dark, compelling, and scary. Derrickson's direction adds tension to each scene, and Ethan Hawke gives a top notch performance. The end is entertaining, but a bit contrived. Despite this flaw, "Sinister" remains a fun watch for horror enthusiasts. Grade: B
Super Reviewer
½ February 24, 2013
Despite the protagonist being a complete moron who stays in a creepy house when all good sense would make him leave, this is a disturbing movie that manages to cause unease with an ominous atmosphere - but this efficient effort is ruined by cheap scares and a terrible ending.
Super Reviewer
July 26, 2012
Out of not many good horror flicks from 2012, "Sinister" stands out among the few best that were released. Having a significant amount of jump scares, this film is able to pull of what most horror films fail miserably at today, and that is to provide genuinely terrifying images on the screen that will make you not want to do what the actors have been doing throughout the duration of the film. As the true story about a writer who investigates a series of murders unfolds, the story becomes creepier and the scenes become much more tense. With a unique style of writing, a good sense of direction, and a plot that could not go wrong, "Sinister" is a very very enjoyable movie that I would recommend to anyone who is looking for a genuine scare!
Super Reviewer
February 9, 2013
Investigative horror that often hits the right notes in terms of scares but is mainly successful thanks to a strong bunch of characters. Sinister tells of Ethan Hawke as a true crime novelist. He has just moved to a new town with his family in an attempt to write a new book. However he is met with hostility from the locals, and soon finds a strange collection of gruesome home videos. Sinister has a great bunch of characters who feel real and fleshed out, making each of their decisions make perfect sense within the context of the film. We also some some bending of the traditional characters, as the hapless Deputy is actually very smart. Hawke's occupation as a writer means it makes sense when he doesn't call the cops and wishes to investigate himself. The found footage element is scary, and there are some terrific visuals. Unfortunately the entire film is ruined by the trailer. The plays with the idea of reality vs. the supernatural, but the trailer has already told us what to expect and explained what is going on. There are also too many jump scares which lesson the impact of the visuals. Finally, the film represents a twist towards the end which I thought was simply a given. Meaning when they revealed it I thought we were already supposed to know that particular bit of information. Overall a very decent horror that I would welcome a sequel to and will probably watch again.
Super Reviewer
December 7, 2012
Admittedly, I wasn't a fan of director Scott Derrickson's previous films "The Exorcism Of Emily Rose" and "The Day The Earth Stood Still" so it's promising to see that he actually can craft something of a reasonable amount of quality. This didn't impress me as much as it did others but it's still an admirably (sometimes excellently) crafted horror movie.
Crime writer Ellison Oswalt (Ethan Hawke) has a career that is now nosediving. He's in desperate need of another bestseller and to achieve this, he moves into a house to research a book where the hanging of an entire family took place. His wife (Juliet Rylance) and children are oblivious that they‚??re living in a crime scene but once Ellison discovers a box of home movies in the attic, the dark events begin to unravel and affect them all.
Derrickson's handling of the material here is quite impressive. He keeps the plot moving briskly and has a good grasp on mood and atmosphere. He's also aided by a typically reliable lead performance from Ethan Hawke. From the offset, it appears that all the ingredients are in place and for the most part they are. Very few modern horrors have achieved such a commanding hold over a contemporary audience. However, once the supernatural element to the story is introduced it begins to lose it's way and credulity becomes stretched. If it had relied more on it's highly effective, investigatory nature, it would have made a very good serial-killer thriller: the Super-8, home video scenes alone, are truly alarming and disturbing and instil a real feeling of dread. That being said ,this a horror at the end of the day and most fans of the genre will, no doubt, be satisfied. Personally, I wish it had stuck with the intriguing first half. During this time, it was a far more effective take on Joel Schumacher's earlier 1999 film "8mm" that also dealt with a similar theme of investigating 'snuff-movies'. Like most horrors, it has the protagonist making foolish decisions in the dark and it throws the obligatory jumpy moment at you - which doesn't always work - but for me, the real horror came from the genuinely unsettling atmosphere.
On the whole, this was a very effective and chilling film but it was the unravelling of the mystery in the final third that didn't quite match what had went before. A fine effort but it could have been tighter.
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