MOVIEmeter
Top 5000
Up 52 this week

Sinister (I) (2012)

6.8
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.8/10 from 85,063 users   Metascore: 53/100
Reviews: 429 user | 361 critic | 30 from Metacritic.com

A true-crime writer finds a cache of 8mm home movies films that suggest the murder he is currently researching is the work of a serial killer whose career dates back to the 1960s.

Director:

Watch Trailer
0Check in
0Share...

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 26 titles
created 30 Oct 2012
 
a list of 43 titles
created 11 months ago
 
a list of 28 titles
created 8 months ago
 
a list of 22 titles
created 7 months ago
 
a list of 34 titles
created 5 months ago
 

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Sinister (2012)

Sinister (2012) on IMDb 6.8/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Sinister.

User Polls

4 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

The murderous, backwoods Firefly family takes to the road to escape a vengeful police force which isn't afraid of being as ruthless as their target.

Director: Rob Zombie
Stars: Sid Haig, Sheri Moon Zombie, Bill Moseley
The Collector I (2009)
Crime | Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Desperate to repay his debt to his ex-wife, an ex-con plots a heist at his new employer's country home, unaware that a second criminal has also targeted the property, and rigged it with a series of deadly traps.

Director: Marcus Dunstan
Stars: Josh Stewart, Andrea Roth, Juan Fernández
Crime | Drama | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A lawyer takes on a negligent homicide case involving a priest who performed an exorcism on a young girl.

Director: Scott Derrickson
Stars: Laura Linney, Tom Wilkinson, Shohreh Aghdashloo
Saw III (2006)
Crime | Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Jigsaw kidnaps a doctor to keep him alive while he watches his new apprentice put an unlucky citizen through a brutal test.

Director: Darren Lynn Bousman
Stars: Tobin Bell, Shawnee Smith, Angus Macfadyen
Saw IV (2007)
Crime | Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

Jigsaw and his apprentice Amanda are dead. Now, upon the news of Detective Kerry's murder, two seasoned FBI profilers, Agent Strahm and Agent Perez, arrive in the terrified community to ... See full summary »

Director: Darren Lynn Bousman
Stars: Tobin Bell, Scott Gordon-Patterson, Costas Mandylor
Saw V (2008)
Crime | Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

Following Jigsaw's grisly demise, Mark Hoffman, the final apprentice to the serial killer is deigned a hero. Meanwhile, Agent Strahm continues to track Hoffman while another group of strangers are put through a series of gruesome traps.

Director: David Hackl
Stars: Scott Gordon-Patterson, Costas Mandylor, Tobin Bell
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

In an abandoned house in Poughkeepsie, New York murder investigators uncover hundreds of tapes showing decades of a serial killer's work.

Director: John Erick Dowdle
Stars: Stacy Chbosky, Ben Messmer, Samantha Robson
Borderland (2007)
Crime | Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

On a trip to a Mexican border town, three college friends stumble upon a human-sacrifice cult.

Director: Zev Berman
Stars: Brian Presley, Jake Muxworthy, Rider Strong
Saw (2004)
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

With a dead body lying between them, two men wake up in the secure lair of a serial killer who's been nicknamed "Jigsaw". The men must follow various rules and objectives if they wish to survive and win the deadly game set for them.

Director: James Wan
Stars: Cary Elwes, Leigh Whannell, Danny Glover
Anamorph (2007)
Crime | Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

A psychological thriller based on the concept of anamorphosis, a painting technique that manipulates the laws of perspective to create two competing images on a single canvas.

Director: Henry Miller
Stars: Willem Dafoe, Scott Speedman, Don Harvey
Crime | Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

Katie is trying to make it in the cutthroat world of modeling. When she innocently accepts an offer to have new photos taken for her portfolio, the experience quickly turns into an ... See full summary »

Director: Steven R. Monroe
Stars: Jemma Dallender, Yavor Baharov, Joe Absolom
Scream (1996)
Crime | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A killer known as Ghostface begins killing off teenagers, and as the body count begins rising, one girl and her friends find themselves contemplating the "Rules" of horror films as they find themselves living in a real-life one.

Director: Wes Craven
Stars: Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, David Arquette
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Tracy
...
Sheriff
...
Deputy
...
...
Ashley
Rob Riley ...
E.M.T.
Tavis Smiley ...
Anchor
Janet Zappala ...
Reporter
...
Stephanie
...
BBQ Boy
Ethan Haberfield ...
Pool Party Boy
...
Lawn Girl
...
Sleepy Time Boy
Nicholas King ...
Bughuul / Mr. Boogie (as Nick King)
Edit

Storyline

True-crime writer Ellison Oswalt moves himself and his family into 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 footage he finds in the house to help in his research, but he soon finds more than he bargained for. There is a figure in each of the films, but who or what is it? As a result, his family start to suffer (as does he), and things take a turn for the worse. Will they survive? Written by Michael Hallows Eve

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

writer | murder | book | research | snuff film | See more »

Taglines:

Filmed at The Kuvykin Mansion. also filmed in the Kuvykin Mansion Good Shepard, See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for disturbing violent images and some terror | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

|

Language:

| | |

Release Date:

12 October 2012 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Found Footage  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$3,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$18,007,634 (USA) (12 October 2012)

Gross:

$48,056,940 (USA) (28 December 2012)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

|

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Screenwriter C. Robert Cargill admitted that the name of Ethan Hawkes' character, Ellison Oswalt, was inspired by author Harlan Ellison and comedian Patton Oswalt. See more »

Goofs

Near the beginning of the film, we see Ashley painting a girl in red on the wall. We see that Ashley has painted the girl fully in red, however, in the next shot we see that the girl has a white space where the red paint was before. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Tracy: Just one box?
Ellison Oswalt: It's for my office. It's fragile.
Tracy: Sissy.
See more »

Connections

Followed by Sinister 2 See more »

Soundtracks

Silence Teaches You How to Sing
(Rygg/Sværen/Ylvisaker)
Performed by Ulver
Courtesy of Jester Records, Oslo, Norway
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
The movie for jaded horror fans who think nothing can scare them
10 October 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Directed and scripted by Scott Derrickson ("The Exorcism of Emily Rose," 2008's "The Day the Earth Stood Still") from a C. Robert Cargill story, "Sinister" is an exquisite realization of an original paranormal theme. The movie debuted in this same town's SXSW Film Festival in March.

Ethan Hawke is Ellison Oswalt, a true crime author and devoted family man with a what-have-you-done-for-us-lately fan base and editor anxiously awaiting his next blockbuster. Wife Tracy (Juliet Rylance) and youngsters Ashley (Clare Foley) and Trevor (Michael Hall D'Addario) are tired of constantly moving from town to town as Oswalt is wont to plant temporary roots close to the subjects of his ripped-from-the-headlines novels. As the film opens, the Oswalts are moving into yet another new house, but Ellison swears this is the last time, and selectively informs his family of his intentions.

In the process of unpacking, Ellison discovers a box of the previous owner's old home movies in the attic. Thus begins the odyssey into the unknown. Let it be said at the outset that this is not "just another found footage film." In reversing the role of viewer and protagonist, to some extent, it's Hawke's character who discovers the reels while we see his story played out on screen. We don't spend two hours watching shaky 8MM footage. They are integral to the narrative but aren't the sum of its parts.

In his horror debut, Hawke turns in a striking tour-de-force performance that rivals anything I've seen recently ("Insidious'" Patrick Wilson comes close). Rylance is delightful as the patient but exasperated wife who's barely willing to stand by her man for one more moment. Foley (Abby in "Win Win") and D'Addario (Josh in "People Like Us") are frighteningly authentic as the glue that holds this tight-knit family together. Fred Dalton Thompson ("Law & Order's" D.A. Arthur Branch and former U.S. Senator) does a star turn as the stubborn sheriff who will have nothing to do with outsiders tarnishing his town's already-shaky reputation. Welcome comic relief comes from underrated character actor James Ransone ("Ken Park," "Inside Man," HBO's "The Wire").

This is Ethan Hawke's first foray into this genre, a simple consequence of his passion for the material. "He said he'd never do horror," paraphrasing the filmmakers in the Q&A following the screening here, but he fell in love with Derrickson's script. The casting of Juliet Rylance as his wife was also done at his suggestion. Their on screen chemistry is undeniable.

The technical team doesn't miss a beat. Top-notch visual effects are always key in a film like this, but the common flaw in this genre lies in overdoing it. CGI and post-production trickery can certainly advance the narrative where appropriate but "Sinister's" old school in-camera effects, done while shooting, enhance the believability of the action.

Cinematographer Chris Norr eschews hand-held for stationary tripod shots and Hitchcockian slow pans, with POV tracking shots that allow the audience to sense the protagonist's growing paranoia. The occasional subjective POV angle, where the character looks at the camera, effectively places the viewer into the scene.

Lighting in the Oswalt home, where most of the action takes place, is appropriately subdued and rife with interplays of light and shadow. Hawke is often seen in silhouette, masking dark corners hiding secrets, literally. Terrifying night scenes beg the question, "Why are you going up into the attic?" Christopher Young's original score blends perfectly with needle-drop songs from some of the filmmakers' favorite indie bands. In a typical production, where third party songs will be inserted, the actors work to a temp track -- music that plays in the background until the company can obtain licensing for the tunes they want for the finished product, usually unknown (although often hoped for) during filming, that are then added to the soundtrack in post-production. With "Sinister," Derrickson and his team were able to purchase the rights prior to shooting so the cast members performed to a playback of the songs that would actually be used in the final cut. It does make a difference, especially when seasoned professionals like Hawke are "acting" in sync with the same music the audience hears in those scenes. It creates a symbiotic ambiance that links viewer to actor.

As a reviewer, I try to keep expectations out of my thoughts and writing. After all, it's only fair to the filmmakers (and me, and my readers) to judge a movie on its merits. Fortunately, it's not too much of a challenge to be as objective as possible when entering the theater, especially if it's a premiere and no other reviews are out there (and you haven't watched a trailer). But Fantastic Fest is a genre festival, after all, and one would not attend, theoretically, without being a fan of same. So expectations are placed on the film simply by virtue of the fact it's even being shown.

That's why I'm happy to report that "Sinister" was all I hoped it would be. Yes, this is why I attend Fantastic Fest and movies like this make it worth the trip. This is the flick for jaded horror fans who think nothing can scare them. This one does it. "Sinister" will give you nightmares.


157 of 242 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Unintentionally Funny ranko1977
Wife's Accent nicoleclark44
Why are people scared of this movie? M_Valdemar
Hands down best horror of the last 10 years Benji725
Lights on?! nunomacastro
How I thought the movie was going to end and how it should have. slimedones
Discuss Sinister (2012) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?