Sinister (Scott Derrickson, 2012)

Sinister“Sinister” is a 2012 horror thriller directed by Scott Derrickson. The film follows the story of Ellison Oswalt, a crime novelist who moves with his family to a new home to find inspiration for his new book. However, Ellison discovers that the house was the site of a murder and that a dark mystery lurks behind it…

What makes “Sinister” a compelling film is its ability to create an atmosphere of unease, mystery, and fear right from the start, as seen in the opening scenes of the film. Ethan Hawke delivers a strong performance as Ellison Oswalt. His character is tormented by his obsession with the truth and his struggle against his own fears. Hawke effectively conveys his character’s growing anguish, making him a captivating and complex protagonist.


One of the most interesting aspects of the film is its ability to create a sense of unease and fear through the use of home movies, specifically amateur super8 films. These films, discovered by Ellison, reveal a series of brutal and disturbing murders, each with its own story and meaning. The soundtrack, composed by Christopher Young, adds an additional level of tension and suspense to the film, complementing the dark cinematography and grim settings.

Director Scott Derrickson is skilled at creating red herrings and surprising the audience with unexpected twists. This keeps the viewer constantly on edge, never knowing what to expect. Finally, it’s worth mentioning the film’s ending, which is both surprising and chilling at the same time and may leave some viewers with an unsettling and ambiguous conclusion, prompting reflection on the meaning and implications of the story.

SinisterWho is Bughuul?

Bughuul is a character invented by director Scott Derrickson. He created it inspired by some pagan legends, and then attributed to him a fictional Babylonian origin. According to Looper, Bughuul has much in common with Moloch, the Phoenician-Canaanite god of fire and human sacrifices.
Considered a god by the Canaanites, his place of worship was the Valley of Gehenna, at the base of Mount Zion on which the first nucleus of Jerusalem stood. Human sacrifices of children were offered to him, who, after being slaughtered, were burnt in holocaust in a fire kept constantly burning in his honor. Over time, Moloch became the name of the ritual during which children were burned (perhaps the firstborn), probably with the belief of turning them into some kind of protective deity for the family they belonged to.

SinisterIs “Sinister” a True Story? The Story and Background by Director Scott Derrickson

“Sinister” is an idea by C. Robert Cargill, the co-writer, born from a nightmare after watching the horror film The Ring. After having this quite terrifying dream, he thought about it for years, but being a film critic and not a screenwriter, there wasn’t much he could do. My friendship with Cargill was born online, and at the time we had only met once in person; but then, two years ago, on a cold January night in Las Vegas, I met Cargill and we decided to go for a drink past midnight.
He told me about his idea for “Sinister.” He convinced me. We sold the idea to producer Jason Blum the following week, and five weeks later the script was ready. The film went quickly into production and was completed less than a year later. During casting, it wasn’t easy to decide which actor was most suitable to play the role of Ellison Oswalt. The character of Ellison is weak, insecure, and my fear was that the viewers might take it out on him. If I had chosen the wrong actor, the viewers wouldn’t have noticed the events and would have focused their attention on their antipathy towards Ellison.

SinisterI opted for Ethan Hawke because I knew he could play the role of this imperfect character without losing the audience’s interest in him. Ethan, in turn, introduced me to Juliet Rylance, and after her audition, I was sure she was the right person for the role of Ellison’s wife. Shooting this film was magnificent because, for the first time in my career, I made a film without creative interference. It was not necessary to make changes to the script because of suggestions from the Studios, and I myself took care of the final editing.

So, “Sinister” is exactly the film I wanted to make.

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