Washed-up true crime writer Ellison Oswalt finds a box of super 8 home movies in his new home that suggest the murder that he is currently researching is the work of a serial killer whose work dates back to the 1960s.


Scott Derrickson
759 ( 420)
3 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »





Complete credited cast:
Ethan Hawke ... Ellison Oswalt
Juliet Rylance ... Tracy
Fred Thompson ... Sheriff (as Fred Dalton Thompson)
James Ransone ... Deputy
Michael Hall D'Addario ... Trevor
Clare Foley ... Ashley
Rob Riley Rob Riley ... E.M.T.
Tavis Smiley ... Anchor
Janet Zappala Janet Zappala ... Reporter
Victoria Leigh ... Stephanie
Cameron Ocasio ... BBQ Boy
Ethan Haberfield Ethan Haberfield ... Pool Party Boy
Danielle Kotch ... Lawn Girl
Blake Mizrahi ... Sleepy Time Boy
Nicholas King ... Bughuul / Mr. Boogie (as Nick King)


Crime writer Ellison Oswalt moves his family into a house where a horrific crime took place earlier, but his family doesn't know. He begins researching the crime in hopes of writing a book about it. Oswalt examines video footage that he finds in the house to help him in his research, but he soon discovers more than he bargained for. Written by Michael Hallows Eve

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


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:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


The super 8 snuff reels in this movie aren't unlike many of the snuff reels that came up in the latter half of the 20th century. The super 8 film format, when it was introduced in 1965, allowed amateur filmmaking to be much cheaper and easier for the average person, but unfortunately this also meant that a great amount of snuff reels, most of them fake, started surfacing as urban legends and in banned movies such as the Faces of Death series. Most real snuff films that featured actual murders were never revealed to the public and have been confiscated by police as evidence. The John F. Kennedy assassination was caught on a regular 8mm camera by an amateur filmmaker as an unintentional murder film and revealed to the public; since then it has been subject to several documentaries and conspiracy theories. This movie's snuff reels were made to look like 20th century murder films on purpose to fit the story, which questions who the people or person behind all the snuff reels out there is. See more »


(at around 16 mins) When Ellison first watches the film of the family being hung, Bughuul does not appear in the bushes but he does later on when Ellison watches it on his computer and prints it out (at around 49 mins). See more »


[first lines]
Tracy: Just one box?
Ellison Oswalt: It's for my office. It's fragile.
Tracy: Sissy.
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Featured in Half in the Bag: Hereditary (2018) See more »


Waking Cthuhlu
Music by Andrea Nébel (as Andréa Nebel)
Performed by Aghast
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User Reviews

Great horror, really liked it
14 September 2013 | by rlaineSee all my reviews

This is old school gore-free horror, just the way I like it. It's got great story, great acting, great style in direction. So many horror movies these days are a let down, but this one delivered big time.

Story is not the most original. It's got elements from a lot of other horror movies, some pretty bad ones, so I was a bit skeptic on how the story would evolve. But it does hold together and actually delivers by the end quite well. I never felt being betrayed by cheap red herrings, it just worked.

Acting is great. It's Ethan Hawke most of the time and I really think he makes a lot of this movie. He's both likable and quite believable. His character is quite humane in all it's fragility. The scene in which he has fallen asleep watching an old interview of his and his wife finds him is actually quite heartfelt. There's only one scene - pretty important one - which I think Hawke slightly overplays, but otherwise everything is spot on.

Scares are delivered quite sparingly, but they're effective. I watched this in the middle of the night and I did jump a few times. Some of the 8mm films are quite disturbing to watch, even tho there is no actual graphic gore involved. I really liked the fact that they spared the graphic images and went for psychological terror instead.

The direction is solid. It's stylish. Music and soundtrack choices were quiet interesting here and there. Makes me feel like I want to watch this again just to concentrate on the soundtrack once more. They even have a Boards of Canada tune playing over a scene - what's not to like?

Great movie, really really good. Old school horror ftw!

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Release Date:

12 October 2012 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Untitled Scott Derrickson Project See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA See more »


Box Office


$3,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$18,007,634, 14 October 2012

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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