Sinister (2012).jpg
Title: Sinister
Directed by: Scott Derrickson
Written by: Scott Derrickson; C. Robert Cargill
Produced by: Jason Blum; Jeanette Brill; Bailey Conway; Scott Derrickson; Gerard DiNardi; Jessica L. Hall; Brain Kavanaugh-Jones; Charles Layton; Rick Osako
Music by: Christopher Young
Cinematography: Chris Norr
Edited by: Frédéric Thoraval
Distributed by: Alliance Films
Summit Entertainment
Blumhouse Productions
Released: October 12th, 2012
Rating: R
Running time: 110 min.
Country: USA
Language: English
Budget: $3,000,000 [1] [2]
Gross: $48,086,903 (US)
$87,727,807 (Worldwide) [1] [2]
Next: Sinister 2 (2015)

Sinister is an American horror film of the supernatural thriller subgenre. It was written and directed by Scott Derrickson and co-written by C. Robert Cargill. It was produced by BH Productions, Alliance Films and Summit Entertainment and released theatrically in the United States on October 12th, 2012. The film stars Ethan Hawke as True Crime novelist Ellison Oswalt, Juliet Rylance as his wife Tracy, Michael Hall D'Addario as his son, Trevor, and Clare Foley as his daughter Ashley. Co-stars in the movie include Fred Dalton Thompson as the King County Sheriff, James Ransone as Deputy So and So and an uncredited appearance by Vincent D'Onofrio as Professor Jonas.

Plot[edit | edit source]

Ellison Oswalt is a True Crime novelist who has fallen on hard financial times. Hoping to reinvigorate his career with a new book, he moves his family to King County, Pennsylvania, into the home where a family was brutally murdered and a young girl has disappeared. Keeping the grisly truth about the house's history from his wife, son and daughter, Ellison discovers a strange box of Super 8 film reels in the attic. Viewing the reels, he finds footage of various gruesome murders that took place at different locations across different time eras. All of which followed the same concept: a family is helpless to prevent their own murder while the youngest child in the family goes missing.

Haunted by these stark images, Ellison becomes obsessed and feels that this footage may hold the key to his new book. He declines to inform the police, but does establish a connection with an eager deputy whom he nicknames "So and So". Ell's wife, Tracy, discovers the truth about the family that once lived in their new home, all of whom were hung from a tree branch in the back yard. Ellison's obsession grows and he becomes haunted by spectral images of ghostly children, as well as that of a mysterious pagan deity known as Bughuul.

Synopsis[edit | edit source]

A new start[edit | edit source]

Ellison Oswalt.

The film opens with Super 8 footage depicting a family of four standing beneath a tree with hoods over their heads and nooses around their necks. An unseen figure saws through a branch acting as a counterweight, causing their deaths by hanging.

Months later, washed-up true crime writer Ellison Oswalt (Ethan Hawke) moves into the murdered family's home with his wife, Tracy (Juliet Rylance), and their two children, 7-year-old Ashley (Clare Foley), an artist who is allowed to paint on her walls, and 12-year-old Trevor (Michael Hall D'Addario), who begins re-experiencing bizarre night terrors upon moving into the home. Only Ellison is aware that the house they are moving into was the crime scene. Ellison intends to use the murders as the basis for his new book, and hopes that his research will turn up the fate of the family's fifth member, a 10 year old girl named Stephanie who disappeared following the murders.

Film fan[edit | edit source]

The symbol of Bughuul.

Ellison finds a box in the attic that contains a projector and several reels of Standard 8 mm footage that are each labeled as innocent home movies. Watching the films, Ellison discovers that they are actually snuff movies depicting families being murdered in various ways: being drowned in their pool (Pool Party '66), being burnt to death in a car (BBQ '79), being run over by a lawn mower (Lawn Work '86), having their throats slit in bed (Sleepy Time '98), and the hanging that opened the movie (Family Hanging Out '11). The drowning film proves especially disturbing for Ellison after he notices the face of a demonic figure watching the drownings from the bottom of the pool. Ellison eventually finds the figure observing the murders in each of the films, along with a strange painted symbol; inspecting the lid of the box containing the films, Ellison discovers childish drawings depicting the murders, along with crude sketches of the demonic figure, identified as "Mr. Boogie." Consulting a local deputy (James Ransone), Ellison discovers that the murders depicted in the films took place at different times, beginning in the 1960s, and in different cities across the country. He also learns that the families were all drugged before being killed; and that a child from each family went missing following every murder. The deputy refers Ellison to a local professor, Jonas (Vincent D'Onofrio), whose expertise is the occult and demonic phenomena, to decipher the symbol in the films. Jonas tells Ellison that the symbols are that of a pagan Babylonian deity named Bughuul (Nick King), referred to as Mr. Boogie, who would kill entire families and then take one of their children into his realm in order to consume their souls.

Bughuul wants to play[edit | edit source]

Researching the murders.

One night, Ellison spots Bughuul outside in bushes and rushes outside, armed with a baseball bat, only to find Trevor, having experienced yet another night terror and rushes him back inside. Ellison returns outside to retrieve his bat when he encounters a rottweiler and attempts to grab his bat. The dog sees the missing children standing behind Ellison, causing the dog to flee out of fear. The second night, Ellison hears a noise within the home and, again armed with his bat investigates, being plagued by the missing children in various states of decay. After Ellison checks in on Ashley and leaves, Stephanie is shown in front of Ashley, having painted her family's murder with Bughuul. The third night, Ellison hears the film projector running and goes up to the attic. There, he finds the missing children watching one of the films. Bughuul suddenly appears on camera before physically appearing before Ellison. Ellison takes the camera and the films to the backyard and burns them. Then he wakes his family to tell them that they are moving back to their old house. At his old home, Ellison receives a message from Professor Jonas, who sends him scans of historical images associated with Bughuul; each drawing had been partially destroyed by the early Christians, who believed that images of demons served as a gateway for them to come from the spiritual realm to the mortal world. Ellison discovers the projector and films in his attic, along with a new envelope of film labeled "extended cut endings". During this time, the deputy tries calling several times, but Ellison never answers. The next time the deputy calls, while Ellison is assembling the films, he answers. The deputy informs him that he has discovered a link between the murders: every family had previously lived in the house where the last murder took place, and each new murder occurred shortly after the family moved into their new residence; by moving, Ellison has placed himself and his family in line to be the next victims.

House painting[edit | edit source]

"Keep yo creepy-ass kids away!"

Ellison watches the footage. He finds that it depicts the missing children coming onscreen following each murder, revealing themselves to be the killers, apparently under Bughuul's possession before suddenly disappearing. Before he can react, Ellison becomes light-headed; inspecting his coffee cup, he finds a note reading "Good Night, Daddy" and a green liquid inside the cup before losing consciousness. Ashley appears behind Ellison, revealing herself to be the drugger, under Bughuul's possession, likely contracted from her encounter with Stephanie. Ellison awakens to find himself, his wife and his son bound and gagged. Ashley approaches holding the 8 mm camera, and promises him that she will make him famous again. Ashley then murders her family with an axe, using their blood to paint images of cats, dogs and unicorns on the walls. Her work complete, Ashley views the Super-8 film of her murders, which concludes with an image of the missing children watching her. Bughuul appears, causing the children to flee. He lifts Ashley into his arms and disappears into the film with her.

The film concludes with an image of the box of films in the Oswalt family's attic, now accompanied by Ashley's reel, labeled "House Painting '12". The camera slowly pans away from the box, until Bughuul appears onscreen before the screen cuts out. [3]

Cast[edit | edit source]

Main cast[edit | edit source]

Supporting cast[edit | edit source]

Uncredited cast[edit | edit source]

Note: The following is taken from the full credits list for this entry on IMDB. As it is a website with user-submitted information, some of the data listed here, including character names may be inaccurate.

Notes & Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • The tagline for this film is, "Once you see him, nothing can save you".
  • At its widest release, Sinister was screened in 2,542 theaters. [2]
  • Associate producer Jeanette Brill is credited as Jeanette Volturno-Brill in this film.
  • Associate producer Jessica L. Hall is credited as Jessica Hall in this film.
  • Associate producer Rick Osako is credited as Rick A. Osako in this film.
  • Director of photography Chris Norr is credited as Christopher Norr in this film.
  • Actor Nicholas King, who plays the Bughuul in this film, is credited as Nick King.
  • The scenes involving Angela Bettis and her conversation with Ethan Hawke's character were deleted from the final production of the film. Her scenes can be found on the Special Features option on the Sinister DVD and Blu-ray.

Recommendations[edit | edit source]

External Links[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 IMDB; Sinister (2012); Box office & business.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Box Office Mojo; Sinister (2012); Domestic total gross.
  3. Wikipedia:Sinister (film); Plot.
  4. IMDB; Sinister (2012); Filming locations.
  5.; Sinister (2013); DVD.
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