Parents' Guide to


By Jeffrey Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Scary, intense horror film involves kids and murder.

Movie R 2012 110 minutes
Sinister Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 16+

Based on 18 parent reviews

age 13+

Ok for mature 13 year olds

Sinister is a very good horror film. It’s actually a modern horror that is actually scary. This film is very disturbing though and if is definitely not for young children. There is hanging, drowning, etc. But it’s ok for mature 13 year olds.
1 person found this helpful.
age 15+

Extremely disturbed and twisted horror film has grisly scenes of murder and overall violence

Sinister (2012) is a horror film in which true crime writer Ellison discovers a box of Super 8 tapes in the house of a murder scene where 4 people where hung, and a child went missing. The tapes contain violent and grisly images which soon bein to consume his life. In this review, i'll be going over 5 sections of mature content in detail: VIOLENCE: The violence in the film is grisly and extremely disturbing, and usually only takes place when the protagonist watches the killing tapes. 4 people are shown with bags on their heads and tied by their necks to trees as the branch holding them to the ground is cut, sending the family into the air and suspending them. They are hung. The tape is shown nearly 10 times or more throughout the film, sometimes in slow motion and sometimes regularly. Pictures are also shown with the corpses of the family having rope burns of their necks. The scene is especially upsetting because the family is shown prosperous before the scene cuts to the hanging. In another scene, a happy family is shown fishing, then it cuts to them tied up inside of a car bound with chains surrounded by cans of gasoline, then the car explodes with them inside. Several people are tied to reclined pool chairs connected to rope. Then, they are each pulled backwards into the pool and drown. A hidden cameraman creeps around a house and slits the throats of an entire family in bed. Each one is individual, and it shows an exceptional amount of blood. Later, we see another closeup image of a person with their throat slit briefly, however this scene is very disturbing. In another Super 8 film, a lawn mower suddenly runs over a child on the grass, however it is cut out as soon as it hits him. Compared to the rest of the movie, this is mild. At the very end, a man is shopped with an axe, but the screen cuts out when its about to hit him. The killer then records walking through their house covered and splattered in their families blood. A drawing is later shown showing the family chopped up into pieces, implying full dismemberment. The scenes are extremely disturbing and always accompanied with eerie, twisted music. The film is entirely dark and shot in a pitch dark room and an enclosed home. LANGUAGE: Very mild language is heard very infrequently throughout. Some infrequent use of "Hell" and "Damn" with one or more uses of "Sh*t" in an argument. The expletive "F*ck" is also mouthed ever so slightly as well, as the protagonist argues with his wife, however its also impossible to hear and its tough to tell if he's even mouthing it. DRUG/ALCOHOL/TOBACCO USE: The main character drinks whisky in pretty much every super 8 scene, and he is also hnted at being drunk often (almost every scene in the movie takes place analyzing the super 8 films). The victims of the murders where drugged, and a person in the movie is drugged as well who wakes up tied and bound. SEXUAL CONTENT: None, brief kissing FRIGHTENING SCENES: Easily one of the most disturbed and twisted horror films, nit for the faint hearted. MY RATING: R for prolonged sequences of disturbing images and content

This title has:

Too much violence
1 person found this helpful.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (18):
Kids say (86):

Writer/director Scott Derrickson has a touch for using old horror movie tools to create new scares, and he also incorporates several interesting themes into SINISTER. Even if some of his attempts don't quite work some of the time, he still gets credit for trying. To start, he's created an interesting character in Ellison, who's struggling between recapturing his former glory and keeping his family safe, pulled helplessly in two directions at once. And Hawke -- wearing a funny, puffy "grandpa" sweater and shoes -- emphasizes a fascinating clash between courage and weakness in his performance.

Derrickson does pack too many concepts into his story, mixing the supernatural with the mysterious, and it doesn't quite come together; the themes become jumbled up by the final payoff. But the movie has some terrifying, startling moments, mainly thanks to a crafty, strangely prickly music score by Christopher Young. Sinister won't hold up to scrutiny, but it's worth a look for horror fans.

Movie Details

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