6.8/10
186,247
567 user 421 critic

Sinister (2012)

Trailer
2:15 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Prime Video

ON DISC
Sinister is a movie starring Ethan Hawke, Juliet Rylance, and James Ransone. Washed-up true-crime writer Ellison Oswalt finds a box of super 8 home movies that suggest the murder he is currently researching is the work of a serial killer whose work dates back to the 1960s.

Director:

Reviews
Popularity
1,405 ( 282)
3 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Sinister 2 (2015)
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  

A young mother and her twin sons move into a rural house that's marked for death.

Director: Ciarán Foy
Stars: James Ransone, Shannyn Sossamon, Robert Daniel Sloan
Insidious I (2010)
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A family looks to prevent evil spirits from trapping their comatose child in a realm called The Further.

Director: James Wan
Stars: Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Ty Simpkins
The Ring (2002)
Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A journalist must investigate a mysterious videotape which seems to cause the death of anyone in a week of viewing it.

Director: Gore Verbinski
Stars: Naomi Watts, Martin Henderson, Brian Cox
The Conjuring (2013)
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren work to help a family terrorized by a dark presence in their farmhouse.

Director: James Wan
Stars: Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, Ron Livingston
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

The Lamberts believe that they have defeated the spirits that have haunted their family, but they soon discover that evil is not beaten so easily.

Director: James Wan
Stars: Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Barbara Hershey
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Ed and Lorraine Warren travel to North London to help a single mother raising 4 children alone in a house plagued by a supernatural spirit.

Director: James Wan
Stars: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Madison Wolfe
Drama | Fantasy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A young solicitor travels to a remote village where he discovers the vengeful ghost of a scorned woman is terrorizing the locals.

Director: James Watkins
Stars: Daniel Radcliffe, Janet McTeer, Ciarán Hinds
Silent Hill (2006)
Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A woman, Rose, goes in search for her adopted daughter within the confines of a strange, desolate town called Silent Hill.

Director: Christophe Gans
Stars: Radha Mitchell, Laurie Holden, Sean Bean
Dark Water (2005)
Drama | Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

A mother and daughter, still wounded from a bitter custody dispute, hole up in a run-down apartment building. Adding further drama to their plight, they are targeted by the ghost of former resident.

Director: Walter Salles
Stars: Jennifer Connelly, Ariel Gade, John C. Reilly
Lights Out II (2016)
Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Rebecca must unlock the terror behind her little brother's experiences that once tested her sanity, bringing her face to face with a supernatural spirit attached to their mother.

Director: David F. Sandberg
Stars: Teresa Palmer, Gabriel Bateman, Maria Bello
Drama | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

Newlyweds are terrorized by demonic forces after moving into a large house that was the site of a grisly mass murder a year before.

Director: Andrew Douglas
Stars: Ryan Reynolds, Melissa George, Jimmy Bennett
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A prequel set before the haunting of the Lambert family that reveals how gifted psychic Elise Rainier reluctantly agrees to use her ability to contact the dead in order to help a teenage girl who has been targeted by a dangerous supernatural entity.

Director: Leigh Whannell
Stars: Dermot Mulroney, Stefanie Scott, Angus Sampson
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
... Ellison Oswalt
... Tracy
... Sheriff
... Deputy
... Trevor
... Ashley
Rob Riley ... E.M.T.
... Anchor
Janet Zappala ... Reporter
... Stephanie
... BBQ Boy
Ethan Haberfield ... Pool Party Boy
... Lawn Girl
... Sleepy Time Boy
... 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 begins researching the crime so that 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 him 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

Taglines:

Tonight, you've never seen anything this Sinister... See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

12 October 2012 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Found Footage  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$3,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£1,435,722 (United Kingdom), 7 October 2012, Limited Release

Opening Weekend USA:

$18,007,634, 14 October 2012, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$48,086,903

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$87,727,807
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Ethan Hawke had never seen the super 8 snuff films prior to the date of recording Sinister. When the scene where his character watches the snuff films was ready to be recorded, the soundtrack was matched up with the films and Hawke played out his role. His reactions to the films were recorded for Sinister and used in the final film. See more »

Goofs

(at around 29 mins) Ellison states in the movie that 8mm film was invented in 1966 by Kodak Inc. but this is incorrect. 8mm film was invented in 1932 for home movies. Super-8 film (the film type actually used to film the murders in the movie, not 8mm contrary to Ellison's statements), was invented and sold for home use in 1965, a year before 1966. There was no type of film invented in 1966. See more »

Quotes

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

Connections

Referenced in Truth or Dare (2018) See more »

Soundtracks

Gyroscope
Written by Michael Sandison and Marcus Sandison
Performed by Boards of Canada
Courtesy of Warp Records Ltd.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
It takes a lot to scare me... This did!
14 October 2012 | by See all my reviews

Ever since the very first trailer came out I thought, "now this looks good!" However, some quite poor reviews came in so my dreams were shattered slightly. But then suddenly some rave reviews came out, even from my favourite critic, Chris Tookey who gave it 5 stars! My faith was suddenly re-installed and I was incredibly excited to see it. It didn't disappoint!

With "The Cabin in the Woods" and now "Sinister", 2012 is restoring my faith in modern horror. It's a truly outstanding film that had me gripped for its entire 115 minutes. The film doesn't dawdle about too much either, it opens with a highly unsettling clip of found footage and then we get a beautiful swooping shot of a man and his family moving in to a new house. It's a standard set-up that we've even seen a few months ago in the surprisingly fun horror, "The Possession" but it's a clever one because we're mostly focused on our hero and in a sense that is what the film is about. His obsession with himself and trying to be re-ignite his fame after writing a highly successful debut true crime novel, followed by several duds.

I was quite surprised as to how much exposition was given to the main character and it only makes the film even more compelling than it is. He's also played brilliantly by Ethan Hawke, who makes up for the lack of acting skills his wife possesses. It reminded me a little of "The Shining" with the egotistical novelist stumbling upon a certain ghostly history, and it certainly contains the same amount of creepy moments. Ethan stumbles upon the super 8 films quite quickly which I was surprised and pleased about, as all too often there's a belated exposition before anything remotely frightening happens.

These super 8 films are masterpieces in themselves. It's a sort of car crash effect, as you don't really want to see them, but you can't stop watching. They're all incredibly creepy, unsettling and sinister (like what I did there?) They are also set-up perfectly with the horrible grainy picture, silence as well as highly unsettling music that all adds to the creepiness. All of them are engaging and compelling to watch. They're also very chilling and are sure to engrave themselves into your mind for a long time after the film has finished.

From then on it's an intriguing and creepy mystery as more and more disturbing information is uncovered. It's also clever how it's unclear if some of what Ethan's seeing is actually real or not. Is he really hearing noises or is it just the whisky talking? I liked the whole family element as well, showing the protagonist as not just some perfect hero, but also as a flawed character. The whole strained relationship with his wife is a fantastic element on top of the central ghost story. Although the woman who plays her is incredibly wooden!

There's a strong, unsettling atmosphere that underlies through the whole film. The demon man is also quite frightening and not too much is explained about him which certainly adds to scare factor. I've heard people call this a boring film and a bad film, but it's none of these things. It's a genuinely horrifying horror film with fantastic writing and directing. It's the type of film that gets under your skin and leaves its print in your mind for a long time after the credits have rolled. The ending is one of the most disturbing things I've ever seen in a horror film and I've seen many!

"Sinister" is a ghost story of Japanese proportions. By the end, I was actually terrified and had chills all down my back, which is something that doesn't happen too often. I never get scared watching films, but after this and seeing "Noroi: The Curse" which also frightened me, I was starting to think that I was becoming soft! But then I thought no. These are just brilliantly scary films that are high on atmosphere and don't solely rely on jump scares like too many American ghost films. "Sinister" is one of the best horror films this year. It has a relentless sense of dread throughout and is also incredibly effective and compelling. I can't wait to see it again, and also can't urge you enough to go and see it for yourself! Although, I'd recommend a night light for when you sleep.

Please read my weird and wonderful horror movie review blog! www.asdaman.wordpress.com


144 of 216 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 567 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending Movies With Prime Video

Enjoy a night in with these popular movies available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial