It's the 'Purple Rose of Cairo' of horror movies! As someone else correctly pointed out, the set design, lighting, and sound design is excellent. Many of the scares are not scary, but some of them are.
A horror by way of De Palma's Blow-Out, in as much as it deals explicitly with the idea of investigating the image as self-conscious critique of the way audiences now experience films. Here, the power of the image becomes a supernatural one. While the domestic scenes are fairly strained, the first shot is one of the most powerful in recent cinema; establishing an ensuing tone that is genuinely unsettling and intense.
After the great first 30 minutes, it slowly goes downhill without ever recovering the superb atmosphere and scriptplay at the begining. There are some very smart ideas in here and that is why i'm so disappointed in the dozen or so lame ones that almost throw everything to the waste. Nonetheless, it is not a bad movie and they ALMOST nailed it. But why the fuck have those children? couldn't they find something better?
I wake in the middle of the night hearing strange noises coming from the attic. I of course pull down the steps and go investigate in the dark, A projector I threw out earlier awakes me running in my study and a strange creature looks at me from the projected image but do I turn on a light in the house... of course not. I must be a character in a movie who has never seen a horror film. Not bad of its kind but c'mon.
Looking beyond the dumb character decisions and very poor ending, Sinister provides some genuine frights. The snuff films themselves are quite chilling, while the sound design is what really shines here - haunting and mesmerizing.
The classical Stephen King-like setup of a writer in retreat working on a new novel, combined with "eyewitness procedurals" like Coppola's The Conversation or De Palma's Blow out, and benefited immensely by Ethan Hawke's disturbed performance. A shame about the third act, when the initial subtle and creepy atmosphere is thrown away in favor of low rent and silly trickeries.
Great horror film with scares to spare. The super 8 movies are the stuff of nightmares but the director makes a couple of bad decisions with the story towards the end. Ethan Hawke plays an interesting man and you might think he makes stupid choices in the movie but I think that in light of his characters flaws and faults it makes sense. The best bit is Christopher Young's unconventional and "droney" soundwork.