709 user 321 critic

Sinister (2012)

2:15 | Trailer
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
962 ( 334)
3 wins & 13 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


Once you see him, nothing can save you. 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 song 'Gyroscope' by Scottish electric band Boards of Canada, used in the end credits, and film burning scenes in this movie are recycled for Sinister 2 (2015) and played during a few scenes. See more »


(at around 21 mins) Ellison initially goes to call the police after watching "BBQ '79". However, you can not get traditional operator assistance from a cell phone. You can get assistance from an operator within your network , but they would not answer "operator" when dialed . This greeting can only be achieved by dialing "0" on a land line. See more »


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


Featured in WatchMojo: Top 20 Scariest Movie Endings (2020) See more »


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

User Reviews

Hats off to the decade;s scariest movie with some mistakes
4 October 2012 | by petit76See all my reviews

I was fortunate enough to see the prescreening of this movie and I have to underline the intensity of the pure horror in it.I actually was skeptical to see this movie due to the overrated trailer. Honestly the trailer is giving just a tad bit of what the movie is all about. I will do my best not to spoil this movie in my review. I trembled throughout the movie with the plot and cinematography used to pull of this movie. The character and the plot development have been elaborately handled and nothing has been blown out of the proportion. Aside from the scene where the kid is getting outside the box everything was scary in it. The idea that crime novelist dad find boxes of murder tapes and his trying to see what those murders are all about and his connecting those scenes to each other in the cinematographic aspect is well done and well maintained. Ethan Hawke's plausibility is a great contribution along with the other cast. I did not see any character who did not fit to the cast at all. Everyone in the movie was very close to the reality which made this movie quite outstanding. The characters are nothing but perfect. Ethan Hawke features a crime novelist who moves in a new house with his family. His finding a box of 8 mm tapes on which gruesome murders took place drags the audience to the depth of the real horror. The camera-work and the quality of the shooting technique build up to the intensity to make this movie scary enough. The gruesome murders on the tapes are split into two parts so nothing is shown at once which makes the audience wait for the second batch of the murders which are quite disturbing. The taped murder scenes are quite disturbing and I totally understand the reason why the rating is quite comprehensive with warnings/ The imagery used in the movie is also very scary and it adds up. The audience understands what is really going on with logical sequence order. I can clearly state that Sinister is the scariest movie among all the movies i have byfar laid eyes on. I would have hard time deciding which one tops when compared to Exorcist of Blattey's. I was pretty pessimistic with the scary movies lately but Sinister has been upto par. If you want to watch a real scary movie and feel the intensity of a real horror movie go see this movie!! There were also some incompetencies throughout. The entire movie cast is around 5 people excluding the killer missing kids with terrible make up. His not letting the Police department know what happened there at the house was off. The deputy's hesitant behavior was very odd and made me feel like he was involved with the murders but he wasn't. The biggest failure of the director was during the interview of the novelist's interview regarding one of his books named Kentucky Blood on TV he said he would prefer not writing any novels if he could find the justice for the murdered ones but a couple sequence later he makes a debate with his wife and tries to convince her that he has to write the book to make more money like making a movie project out of the story he was about to pen. That was a great inconsistency

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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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Company Credits

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Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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