Sinister sort of came out of nowhere. It didn’t fit into any of the established horror universes that were being completely overwhelmed back in 2012, allowing us to be introduced to a new world full of new characters and new scares. And it worked quite well. The film was a box office and critical success, spawning a 2015 sequel.

Those two films shared some pretty scary moments, even if the overuse of jump scares was one of the main criticisms of the series. We’ve ranked the ten most scream-worthy moments in Sinister.

10 The Moving Picture (Sinister 2)

Sinister 2 didn’t garner the same response as the original film. The negative response came from a failure to address the issues with the first film (an overuse of clichés and jump scares), turning it into a run of the mill horror flick.

That’s not to say there weren’t a few scary moments. The private investigator at the center of the film is looking through some pictures and sees the demon Bughuul in the background. As he is staring at it, the demon starts to move.

9 The Flashlight (Sinister 2)

The very same private investigator is treated to another terrifying moment slightly early on in the film. He is wandering around with his torch, giving us a few false alarms as he flashes it in various directions.

Just as it seems safe, the demon appears right there in the middle of the screen. In classic horror fashion, he disappears as quickly as he came, but then the private investigator’s phone rings, hitting us with the double scare.


8 Pre-Credits Scare (Sinister)

As Sinister comes to a close, you’re caught a little off guard. We haven’t had much fear for about ten minutes and everything seems to be winding down; then we’re hit with the tackiest thing a horror film can do.

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Just before the credits roll, the face of Bughuul flashes up on the screen. It means nothing and is a pointless and cheap way of getting an extra bit of horror into your horror film, but it’s impossible to deny the fact that it works.

7 The Face In The Garden (Sinister)

In the first Sinister film, we don’t know a lot about Bughuul yet. He has been wandering around in the distance and he seems to really like coming to life in photos, but one of the first times we see him truly up close is through the bedroom window.

When Ellison is looking at a picture of his face, he begins to lower it, revealing that Bughuul’s real face is standing in the garden watching him.

6 Behind The Bed (Sinister 2)

The opening of the sequel doesn’t mess around. It might be to its own detriment, though, because it takes away anything even close to tension by pushing us into massive jump scare just minutes after the film begins.

One boy is lying in bed, seemingly innocuously, before another boy appears out of nowhere behind him, along with a particularly loud musical accompaniment. This sets the tacky tone of the sequel up straight away; they should have learned from Sinister to build tension first.

5 Falling Through The Floor (Sinister)

Ethan Hawke’s character Ellison is your classic horror protagonist. Rather than being absolutely terrified and then deciding to make the smart more of distance himself from mortal danger, he gets stuck in. He spends a lot of time in the absolutely terrifying attic, and eventually meets his maker when he falls straight through it.

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As jump scares go, this one is pretty brutal because it doesn’t actually involve any of the supernatural forces. It’s simply very sudden and very loud. Perfect.

4 The Dead Girl (Sinister)

One of the key recurrences in Sinister is the copious number of dead children who decide to go and stand next to, in front of, or behind Ellison. You can take your pick of which specific moment scared you the most. Was it when the girl sits next to Ashley’s bed? Or when we see the girl in the yellow coat inside the house?

Possibly the most dramatic of all of these scares comes just after the lawnmower scene (which we’ll get to in a moment), in which the dead girl is next to Ellison.

3 Another Pre-Credits Scare (Sinister 2)

You’d assume that doing the same exact thing as the film before wouldn’t work. That’s effectively just a rip-off, right? No filmmaker would create something, then in an attempt to continue its legacy, simply copy things note for note? Well, maybe that’s what made the jump scare at the end of Sinister 2 so effective.

If you’d seen the first film, you might get to the end of its sequel thinking, ‘well, they put a pointless jump scare at the end of the first one, they aren’t going to do it again’. You’d be wrong, and that’s why it ends up so scary.

2 The Attic (Sinister)

After falling through the attic floor, Ellison avoids it quite well. After all, it was the scariest place in the house and the location of the videos that were causing him so much torment.

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Despite this, he couldn’t stay away forever. One particularly terrifying moment shows him looking up into the attic, and even though we know what’s about to happen, you can’t help but recoil when Bughuul’s face appears right in front of ours.

1 The Lawnmower (Sinister)

The lawnmower scene is probably the most famous thing to come out of Sinister. Despite being nothing more than a jump scare, which these days is something often looked down on in the horror genre, it’s just so effective.

We’re shown the inner workings of a lawnmower in one of the murderous home videos, then a few shots of a family enjoying their evening at home. A POV shot follows the lawnmower as it wanders through the grass, and then the loudest noise ever accompanies the appearance of a body right in front of it. Ellison jumps just as much as the audience.

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