SINISTER (2012) Reviews and overview

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Sinister is a 2012 supernatural horror film directed by Scott Derrickson (The Exorcism of Emily Rose; Deliver Us from Evil; Hellraiser: Inferno) from a screenplay co-written with C. Robert Cargill.

The film employs “found footage” along with traditional cinematography. It was a big hit, delivering $77 million worldwide against a tiny $3 million budget. A sequel, Sinister 2, was released in 2015 and a third entry seems inevitable.


Ellison (Ethan Hawke) is a true-crime novelist who purchases a new home with the hopes of writing a successful book. After moving into his new home, he discovers a box of old home movies that depict previous families who lived in the house, as well as their murders.

As Ellison looks further into the mystery behind the tapes, he discovers that the murders all have ties to a supernatural entity known only as “Bagul”. Bagul exists in images of himself and runs the risk of making Ellison’s family the latest casualty of the house…


Sinister had most of its bases firmly covered; acting, chilling visual style, effective scares, potent suspense, originality, a killer score by Christopher Young and a finale that hit home. Granted some of the kids didn’t fully sell me and the cap off would have benefited of more breathing space, but those were minor scratches on what was in my world, a horror work of art!” Arrow in the Head

“it is a truly… well, sinister melodramatic folk tale, and any shortcomings don’t change the fact that Sinister starts strong, that its scares are legitimately jumpy, and that its ideas and Super 8 footage, if not its entire execution, are genuinely chilling. So while it may not live up to all it promised to be, Sinister certainly gives horror fans something moody to experience.” Blueprint: Review

“Sinister also does a nice job of being truly horrifying without bathing itself in blood and gore. For as gnarly as some of the situations in this film are … the focus remains the story and the atmosphere surrounding it. I found myself laughing at times, not due to the film being funny, but because the film took me out of my comfort zone in a way that was as terrifying as it was entertaining.” Rope of Silicon

“In a slasher flick with no aspirations to emotional human authenticity, it’s barely worth complaining about the cheap out of invoking demons and angry spirits and other such nonsense. In a film like this one, which teases us with more profound prospects for delving into obsession and frailty and down-to-earth authentic malevolence, it’s a disappointment.” Flick Filosopher

“… might suggest a realist drama, but a supernatural dimension is brought into play, making the plot directionless. There isn’t an ounce of ingenuity in the way the movie is concluded, but some generic expertise in the way it is put together.” The Guardian

“In the end, all Sinister has to offer are a few standard-issue scare techniques: shadowy figures in darkness; a freeze-frame image of Bughuul that comes to life when Oswalt is not looking, etc. But when director Scott Derrickson (The Exorcism of Emily Rose) tries to pull out all the stops, he plays a bum note…” Hollywood Gothique


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“The most spine chilling thing about Sinister isn’t the spooky apparitions that jump out from the shadows, but the unseen things that go crash, bang, wallop in the darkness … Compelling and terrifying in equal measure, this creepshow also features a frightening soundtrack from Christopher Young that’s guaranteed to shred your nerves. This is modern horror at its best…” Kultguy’s Keep

“This return to the good ol’ hard-R horror trend after a long line of anodyne mid-‘aughts thrillers felt like a sucker-punch to the abdomen, working a gruesome legacy of snuff films, occult nastiness and literary vanity to incredible scary-movie effect.” Rolling Stone



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