New horror film from the producers of Insidious

Like many struggling writers, true-crime novelist Ellison (Ethan Hawke) spends far too much time in his room watching films.

What’s harder to swallow is that none of them are Insidious, with which Scott Derrickson’s slick horror shares much of its DNA (not to mention its producers).

Both movies feature young families uncovering old secrets in new houses; both have child-snatching demons glimpsed only in passing; and both aim for that tricky combination of spooky and funny.

Happily, both mainly hit the mark.

In terms of spooky, one of Ellison’s films (found, naturally, in the attic) shows a family hanging from the tree in his backyard, while another reveals a face that moves eerily audience-wards behind his back.

Though a little less scary, Sinister tackles its comedy scenes better than the earlier film, particularly those featuring fanboy cop Deputy So-And-So (the brilliantly awkward James Ransone) who’s all too eager to help Ellison with his investigations.

“That is a conversation I would not want to be around,” he offers when Ellison decides to tell wife Tracy (Juliet Rylance) they’ve moved into a murder house.

Frankly, she might have guessed something was up by how much time hubby spends wandering around the attic swinging his baseball bat at shadows.

Thanks to a dependably driven performance from Hawke, Chris Norr’s gorgeously glassy cinematography and several shiversome reveals, Sinister manages to be both an opportunistic Insidious clone and a much more consistent watch.

It may be as subtle as Ellison’s trusty slugger, but there’s no denying it gets the job done.


An enjoyable, if boilerplate, boo-flick that maintains an enviable rate of scares per minute by throwing everything – demons, ghosts, snakes, loud noises – at the screen.

Film Details

User Reviews

    • thedanieljson

      Oct 1st 2012, 12:19

      Uh-oh, not liking the comparisons to Insidious. I loathed that film.

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    • tronbuz

      Oct 9th 2012, 9:06

      Great review and it seem like a good movie. Check out my top 12 horror movies 2012 at

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    • SussexUK

      Oct 11th 2012, 22:01


      Does Total FIlm get paid to push a duff film to the public by writing a review that is total rubbish. This is one of the most boring movies i have ever seen. The only redeeming feature is Ethan Hawke who being a good actor manages to do a good job with his character BUT this is not a "scare per minute" and it certainly does not have "comedy scenes".. there is ONE amusing line and thats it. The story is rubbish, the scares are very very lazy and if Total Film thinks a snake adds scares to a horror film then i think the reviewer needs to go back to their media studies and start again. Boring, dreadful, lazy and not the least bit scary. AVOID!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    • piffle

      Oct 13th 2012, 9:39

      Had been thinking of going to see this film until I read this review. If the reviewer thinks Insidious "largely worked", and that's the bar for success for Sinister then its clear we're not going to be on the same page. Insidious was one of the shoddiest, least enjoyable movies I've seen in a long time.

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    • samtebow

      Oct 28th 2012, 18:12

      as Ray said I didnt know that some people are able to make $7575 in one month on the internet. did you look at this\X24LHP

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