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Ethan Hawke, Juliet Rylance, Fred Dalton Thompson, James Ransone, Michael Hall D'Addario ... see more see more... , Clare Foley , Rob Riley , Tavis Smiley , Janet Zappala , Victoria Leigh , Cameron Ocasio , Ethan Haberfield , Danielle Kotch , Blake Mizrahi , Nick King , Vincent D'Onofrio

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... read more read more... box of mysterious, disturbing home movies that plunge his family into a nightmarish experience of supernatural horror. -- (C) Summit

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61% liked it

75,791 ratings


63% liked it

132 critics

R, 1 hr. 49 min.

Directed by: Scott Derrickson

Release Date: October 12, 2012

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DVD Release Date: February 19, 2013

Stats: 6,086 reviews


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Flixster Reviews (6,086)

  • March 3, 2014
    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... read more have trouble sleeping with the lights off tonight. Yikes!
  • 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. ... read moreThe 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.
  • 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 fa... read moremily 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.
  • 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 th... read moree initial subtle and creepy atmosphere is thrown away in favor of low rent and silly trickeries.
  • 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!
  • June 30, 2013
    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 y... read moreou glued to your seat all the way through. Don't miss it!
  • June 13, 2013
    The supernatural element is haphazardly handled, but, from the music, aesthetics, and performances, wow, is this a brilliant horror film.
  • June 8, 2013
  • May 18, 2013
    GeeeeeZ! Eh, try turning on some lights. I like Peter Howell's "more stupid than scary" comment : )
  • 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 o... read moreutright 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.

Critic Reviews

Peter Howell
October 13, 2012
Peter Howell, Toronto Star

More stupid than scary, Sinister can't even figure out who its real demon is. Full Review

Kevin C. Johnson
October 12, 2012
Kevin C. Johnson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

It comes together with a gruesome though excellent ending that some will find difficult to shake. Full Review

Liam Lacey
October 12, 2012
Liam Lacey, Globe and Mail

A mixed bag of old-school and contemporary horror tricks that occasionally raises a hair prickle of intrigue. Full Review

Rafer Guzman
October 12, 2012
Rafer Guzman, Newsday

Despite some effective bumps and frights, and at least one memorable jolt from a full-throated D'Addario, "Sinister" is mainly just a series of snuff-reels with sick-joke titles ... Full Review

Sara Stewart
October 12, 2012
Sara Stewart, New York Post

C'mon, Ethan Hawke, you're better than this. Isn't there a "Before Sunset" sequel that needs your attention? Full Review

Michael O'Sullivan
October 12, 2012
Michael O'Sullivan, Washington Post

The hero of "Sinister" is almost unaccountably dumb. So, unfortunately, is the movie. Full Review

Mark Olsen
October 11, 2012
Mark Olsen, Los Angeles Times

As the best horror stories so often do, "Sinister" makes clear that we are our own boogeymen, the worst monsters of all. Full Review

Miriam Bale
October 11, 2012
Miriam Bale, New York Daily News

In its plot and even its title, the movie feels like a grab bag of every popular horror trope of the last 30 years. Full Review

Wesley Morris
October 11, 2012
Wesley Morris, Boston Globe

As much as "Sinister" wants to tell a story, there isn't much of a story to be told. Full Review

Scott Bowles
October 11, 2012
Scott Bowles, USA Today

Relies more on "gotcha" moments than storytelling. Full Review

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    • Ellison Oswalt: Bad things happen to good people and they still have to have their story told.
    • Ellison: Tracy, nobody died here. It's not like we're sleeping where somebody was killed or they had to wipe blood off the walls for the open house.
    • Tracy: You're saying it didn't happen here?
    • Ellison: No, no. It happened in the backyard.
    • Tracy: That is so sick! God, you think that makes a difference?
    • Ashley: Don't worry Daddy, I'll make you famous again.
    • Tracy: There are plenty of other ways you can provide for this family.
    • Ellison: Doing what? Teaching? Editing journalism textbooks? Don't you understand that writing is what gives my life meaning? These books are my legacy!
    • Tracy: I have always supported you doing what you love, Ellison. But writing isn't the meaning of your life. You and me, right here, this marriage: that's the meaning of your life. And your legacy? That's Ashley and Trevor. Your kids are your legacy.
    • Tracy: Do you understand what you've done this time? The kind of jeopardy you've put your children in? Your marriage?
    • Ellison: Yes! I do!
    • Tracy: Is there anything you won't do for your goddamn book?!
    • Ellison: We have found you in a box...
    • Trevor: A box?
    • Ellison: Shall I tell you about that time you tried to pee in the dryer?

Sinister : Watch Free on TV

Sinister Trivia

  • In which movie did Macaulay Culkin star as Elijah Woods sinister cousin?  Answer »
  • "Fatal Attraction" (1987) was one of the most talked about movies of the 80s. Who played the sinister stalker, Alex Forrest?   Answer »
  • What was the name of Eddie's sinister alter-ego in "The Nutty Professor"?   Answer »
  • Who's sinister voice in on the other end of the phone in the Colin Farrel movie PhoneBooth  Answer »

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