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Sinister Review Critics


Dave White Profile

Bughool is my homeboy. Read full review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 3.0

    out of 100

    Mixed or average reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 50

    out of 100

    USA Today Scott Bowles

    Despite the hype, this horror story can't shake its run-of-the-mill storytelling.

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  • 70

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter John DeFore

    Occasionally stupid (stretching even fright-flick conventions) but scary nonetheless, the picture should please horror fans.

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  • 75

    out of 100

    ReelViews James Berardinelli

    Even though the ending is inescapable (and therefore predictable), that does little to diminish its effectiveness.

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  • 75

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    I knew perfectly well, after a while, what Sinister was going to scare me with. But I got scared anyway.

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  • 75

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    And then there is Vincent D'Onofrio, as a university professor of the occult and mythological, who opens up a line of possibility that eventually saves the ending from being a red herring. Yes, the ending is horrifying, but I don't believe in that stuff. I'm pretty sure I don't.

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Pause for kids 16 & under

Scary, intense horror film involves kids and murder.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Sinister -- a horror movie from the director of The Exorcism of Emily Rose -- is about a potentially supernatural killer and the disappearance of several children. It has some genuinely scary, tense, and shocking moments, including images of gruesome murders shown on Super 8 film footage. There's also a scene of blood spattered all over several walls. Language is a minor issue ("s--t" is used a couple of times), but the main character gulps whisky during tense moments and also smokes a cigarette.

  • Families can talk about Sinister's violence, which occurs mostly in the Super 8 films the main character watches. How did it affect you? How did it compare to other horror movies you've seen?
  • Is Sinister scary? What were the scariest parts? Were they sudden jumps, or did it feel slower and creepier?
  • What's the appeal of horror movies like Sinister?
  • How does the movie depict drinking? Are there realistic consequences?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: Perhaps the biggest message here is "curiosity killed the cat," though the main character does eventually learn to put his family before his work.

  • rolemodels true0

    Role models: The main character is a troubled writer who claims to be helping others but really seems more concerned with his own fame, fortune, and legacy. He does eventually learn to place his family's safety before these things, but it may be too late.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: Genuinely scary/shocking moments. The main character watches Super 8 films with grisly scenes of murder, such as a group hanging, a family burned alive inside a car, a family drowned in a swimming pool, and people cut up by a power lawnmower. There are suggestions of slaughter and images of walls decorated with blood.

  • sex false0

    Sex: A married couple shares a couple of kisses and are shown sleeping in the same bed.

  • language false2

    Language: Language is infrequent but includes a few uses of "s--t." In one scene, a character says the word "f--king" but drops a couple of letters so that it's not quite clear. Characters also say "damn it," "goddamn," "Christ" (as an exclamation), and "oh my God."

  • consumerism false2

    Consumerism: The main character regularly uses an Apple computer and iPhone. The computer's screen and its various functions, commands, and applications -- such as Google, iChat, Safari, and QuickTime -- are shown often.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false2

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: The main character is shown gulping down whisky during tense moments, though he's never shown drunk, and it's not established that he has a drinking problem. He's also seen drinking a beer at dinner, and he lights up a cigarette during one especially tense scene.