Sinister (2012) Poster

(I) (2012)


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  • True crime author Ellison "Ell" Oswalt (Ethan Hawke) is investigating (and planning to write a non-fiction book about) the murders of four members of the Stevenson family (there was a fifth, a young girl named Stephanie, but she appears to have gone missing) who were simultaneously hanged from a tree branch in the backyard of the house into which Ellison and his family—wife Tracy (Juliet Rylance), son Trevor (Michael Hall D'Addario), and daughter Ashley (Clare Foley)—have just moved. Shortly after moving in, Ellison finds in the attic a box containing a movie projector and rolls of 8mm home movies, all bearing innocent labels such as "Sleepy Time '98", "BBQ 79", or "Pool Party '66" but all showing families being hideously murdered. As he watches the film and continues with his investigation, Ellison comes to learn that there is a Babylonian deity, identified as Bughuul (Nicholas King), influencing the killer(s). When Bughuul begins terrorizing Ellison and his family, Ell must find out what it is and how to get rid of it. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • Sinister was filmed from a screenplay written by American screenwriters Scott Derrickson (who also directed) and C. Robert Cargill based on a nightmare that Cargill had after seeing The Ring (2002) (2002). In the nightmare, he discovered a film in his attic depicting the hanging of an entire family. Sinister was followed by Sinister 2 (2015) (2015). Edit (Coming Soon)

  • In the movie, Bughuul (aka Mr Boogie) is depicted as an obscure Babylonian deity who kidnaps and "eats" the souls of children. He resides in a realm separate from the mortal realm but can gain access to the mortal world when people look at him in pictures, such as those on film. In reality, there doesn't appear to be any actual deity named Bughuul (or Bagul) in Babylonian (or any other) mythology. However, deities/demons as the eaters of children is a common thread through many ancient mythologies, e.g., Jewish (Lilith and Abyzou), Coptic Egypt (Alabasandria), Byzantine Gello, Greek (Lamia), Slavic (Ala), Roman (Saturn), among many others. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • Realizing the jeopardy in which he is placing his family, Ellison and Tracy pack up their children and immediately leave the house, returning to their old house. As he is storing boxes in the attic, Ell is horrified to see that the box containing the projector and 8mm movies has returned and that, this time, it contains a small packet of "extended cut endings," which he splices to the original films. As he is working, he gets a call from Deputy So-and-So (James Ransone), who has finally linked together the murders. He explains that each of the families had previously lived in the house where one of the earlier murders took place and that, by moving back to his old home after living at the Stephensons' house, Ellison has placed himself and his family in line to be the next victims. Ellison is further upset when he watches the new endings and learns that each family was murdered by one of their children who subsequently went missing. Ellison begins to feel woozy and realizes that he's been drugged. He passes out and awakens to find himself bound with duct tape and Ashley standing over him with an axe, promising to make him famous again. The final scenes show Ashley walking down a corridor on which she has painted on the walls in blood. She adds a new drawing to the box lid, depicting her family being hacked to pieces. As a new Super 8 film of the murders plays on the projector, Mr Boogie carries Ashley into the film. The film concludes with an image of the box of films in the Oswalt's attic, now accompanied by a reel labeled "House Painting '12". Bughuul suddenly pops up, a warning that the viewer of this film is next. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • Each family had previously lived in a house in which one of the other murders took place, e.g., the Stevensons previously lived in the Millers' house in St Louis after they'd had their throats cut, the Millers previously lived in the De Luzio house in Orange County, California where the "Lawn Massacre" occurred, and the De Luzios previously lived in the Sacramento house where the Martinez family was barbecued in their car. The actual connection is that, after the first snuff film was made in 1966, someone in the next family to move into the house watched the film and got exposed to Bughuul's image. Presumably, the paranormal disturbances caused by Bughuul's presence drove the family to a new house where they were soon afterwards murdered and a new snuff film was made. Starting with the 1966 "Pool Party" drownings in Oregon, the same pattern kept repeating over and over until the present day hangings of the Stevensons in the backyard of the Oswalts' new house, which is how the Oswalts got trapped in the demon's timeline. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • A snuff film is a movie in which a person or persons are actually murdered. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • It's never mentioned what the substance is exactly, but Oswalt mentions to Deputy So&So that the toxicology reports from the families all showed that the killer(s) had drugged the victims. In the "Pool Party" and "Sleepytime" films, glowing green stuff is seen in glasses before the victims are killed. In "Lawn Work", the girl serves her parents drinks, implying that she's drugging them. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • The character Deputy So&So is there for comic relief and his given name by Oswalt has become a running gag throughout the franchise. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • Super 8 is a film format from 1965, invented by the Eastman Kodak photographic company although companies such as Fujifilm, Pro8mm and Agfa that also manufacture Super 8 reversal and negative films. The film stock is called "Super 8" because it's nearly the same as 8mm film stock except that the sprocket holes in the film go vertically rather than horizontally, creating a larger "super" capturing space. Unfortunately use and processing of Super 8, as well as other motion photography film stock forms, are a dying art because the digital age has just about made them obsolete, but film enthusiasts, hobbyists and professional directors who want their movies to have a "retro nostalgic" look will still often use Super 8 because of its bright colours, film grain and unique appearance that digital cameras as of yet can mimic but not really create. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • The director never explained this. Some viewers think that the name was chosen because the mysterious killer is so "sinister" or because the film has a "sinister atmosphere", but there's no certain answer. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • There are several films similar to Sinister, most notably The Ring (2002), the movie that inspired Sinister. Mumsy, Nanny, Sonny & Girly (1970) (1970), the Goosebumps two-part TV movie "Welcome to Deadhouse" (1997) (Part 1 and Part 2), Session 9 (2001), Super 8 (2011) and The Babadook (2014) (2014) all share very similar themes and ideas to Sinister. In addition, the "in development" films Syndrome E and The Rheinsberg Tapes may prove to be similar. Edit (Coming Soon)


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