3 questions for the demon in the movie ‘Sinister’

27 Oct

Warning: The following blog is almost 100% spoilers.

Has anyone else noticed how demons have become a big thing in horror movies lately? Seems that if something spooky is going on some place, you can bet the (haunted) farm demons are to blame. The zombie plague in the Rec. movies? Demons. The poltergeist shenanigans in the Paranormal Activity movies? Demons. The Poltergeist-rip-off shenanigans in Insidious? A demon who looks like a Muppet Show version of Darth Maul.

This fella.

So it was with some disappointment and no surprise whatsoever I learned (via a trailer that gives away much of the plot) that the gruesome family murders in the horror movie Sinister are the work of a demon called Bughuul.

This guy.

Don’t get me wrong. I like demons as much as the next man. I’ve written something recently in which “demons done it”. I just think that while they can be great at conjuring up ideas of something mysterious, malevolent and exotic, there’s a lot to be said for ambiguity. In the case of Sinister, leaving the admittedly-very-creepy-looking villain unnamed and more mysterious would have improved the film enormously. In it, we see a number of children’s drawings featuring him, in which he’s named “Mr Boogie”. Now, personally, I find the name “Mr Boogie” infinitely scarier than the fantastical Bughuul. And I could have done without the cod-mythology explaining his schemes. Knowing that he’s some kind of Pagan Pied-Piper-meets-Slipknot-tribute-act, while not exactly diminishing the threat, does leave you thinking, “So what?”

It also left me with a couple of questions for the sinister one himself. Like:

1) What’s with the Super 8 camera?

Okay, so I get that the whole plot revolves around “true crime” author Ellison Oswalt (Ethan Hawke) discovering some gruesome Super 8 movies in the attic of his new house, and that (ULTIMATE SPOILER KLAXON) the movies are shot by the kids who murdered their own families, but does this mean the camera belongs to Bughuul? If so, where did he get it from? And I can’t imagine many kids these days knowing their way around a Super 8 camera (unlike the kids in Super 8, which had to be set in 1979 for that particular plot device to even work), so does Bughuul give them a quick tutorial before setting them off on their killing spree?

“No, Ashley. You have to focus it. Focus. Focus. No, see, if you do that it’ll be blurry. Here. Give me the goddamn camera. Jesus… Kids.”

Pictured: Take 1 of Pool Party ’66.

2) Doesn’t the whole “Mr Boogie” thing piss you off?

When the kids make their drawings of “Mr Boogie”, it’s implied that they’re under Bughuul’s spell. So wouldn’t he at least insist they get his name right?

“It’s Bughuul, damn it. Bughuul. B-U-G-H-U-U-L. For fuck’s sake. It doesn’t even sound anything like Boogie. Where the hell did you get Boogie from?”

Wasn’t it a song by KC & The Sunshine Band? And if not, why not?

3) Why go to all that bother in the first place?

So his raison d’etre is that he captures children’s souls by making them slaughter their families, or he captures their souls so they’ll slaughter their families (it’s not very clear) and that’s cool. You know, each to his own. But why then spend so much time and energy winding up the dad by leaving some creepy films for him to watch, and then appearing in each film? Why not cut to the chase? And don’t give me “It’s because he’s a sadist and enjoys toying with his victims”. If that’s the case, there are way spookier and more practical things he could have done to freak out Ethan Hawke, and none of them would involve the maintenance of an almost obsolete piece of camera equipment. I mean, where the hell does he even get the parts from?

A trip to Jessops left Bughuul bitterly disappointed. The staff there hadn’t even heard of Super 8.

Now, of course, you could ask similar questions of just about any horror movie, but what the successful ones do is obey their own internal logic, even if it bears little resemblance with real world logic.

For instance, mobile networks in horror movies have virtually no coverage, even in cities.

And if they can’t obey that logic, they at least have the decency to scare you so much you don’t start asking silly questions. Sadly, though it starts very promisingly, and though the cast are all much, much better than the film deserves (James Ransone, in particular, stands out as a geeky sheriff’s deputy), Sinister just isn’t scary enough, and ends with very few shocks and even fewer surprises.


David Llewellyn is the author of six novels, most recently Ibrahim & Reenie, which you can buy here.


80 Responses to “3 questions for the demon in the movie ‘Sinister’”

  1. TrollsMakeMe Laugh October 27, 2012 at 5:49 pm #

    You’re a horrible troll. If you would have taken your time watching the movie instead of trying to make fun of it in an article, you would have heard that they explained everything in the movie.

  2. Cheese November 4, 2012 at 5:14 pm #

    Mr boogie is scarier than Baghuul?! A name we’ve never heard of and is dripping with macabre connotations?! I feel like this movie may have been way over ur head if you’d prefer the ‘monster’ of the movie to be called your generic ‘Boogeyman’.

    To me, the best part of the film is how it ISN’T Baghuul committing the murders or recordings (regardless of how he came in possession of the Super 8 or how young children know how to work one….). It’s the susceptibility of the children to be under the spell of this entity. He’s the unmoved mover. The evil genius, so to say. The Devil could come out and terrorize families. Instead he possesses those most susceptible to him to do his work while never giving us a peek of himself or his true form.

    The movie has flaws for they’re in the minor details (how did Ethan Hawke know to splice a Super 8?! Although it’s nothing that a quick google search couldn’t help… ). But your 3 questions about this movie just seem silly and very self explanatory! You just don’t like the answers!

    I’d give Sinister a 7.5 out of ten!

    • thedaillew November 4, 2012 at 7:13 pm #

      The movie didn’t go over my head. It went under my benchmark. Mythological demons just aren’t very scary. The more you describe them and explain them, the less scary they become. Bughuul would have been infinitely scarier if he renamed nameless, but for the creepy name given to him by the kids. He would have been even scarier still if we didn’t know *why* he made the kids kill their parents. My questions wouldn’t have even occurred to me if at any point in the film I’d been genuinely scared. The trouble with demons is that they’re even less scary when you name them. That’s why The Exorcist, which doesn’t actually name or define “Pazuzu”, is scary, and why Exorcist II (which does) really isn’t.

      • koolaid daemon June 2, 2013 at 9:33 am #

        “Mythological demons just aren’t very scary. The more you describe them and explain them, the less scary they become.”

        An opinion with little explanation, on the other hand they can be more scary in the sense they are based off the actual fear and superstition insofar as peoples of antiquity.

        Not everyone agrees that higher ambiguity equals a higher scare factor. I for one find high ambiguity and lack of context as to why he made the kids kill their parents begs all sorts of questions that can lend shallow answers or a lack of creative depth on behalf of the writer. Instead of requiring a meaningful and coherent plot to stitch together the various scenes, ambiguity can be used as a shield, a mask to avoid having to commit to actually explaining or providing context.

        “My questions wouldn’t have even occurred to me if at any point in the film I’d been genuinely scared.”

        Your questions were hardly meaningful and came across as forced nitpicking. Lacking the capacity to become genuinely scared watching a movie has little to do with this aforementioned factor of forcibly nitpicking.

        “The trouble with demons is that they’re even less scary when you name them. ”

        How so? You simply have iterated this belief, without explaining it further, beyond the circular repetition. Why demons specifically? Why do you prefer a blank canvas demon, why an ambiguous archetype without context? Why in the world is this preferable and more scary, instead of boring due to being contextually detached?

        “That’s why The Exorcist, which doesn’t actually name or define “Pazuzu”, is scary, and why Exorcist II (which does) really isn’t.”

        Yet Pazuzu has biblical context, demons cast amongst a christian background. Exorcist II had less than tasteful cinematography, a poorer plot, and had an air of cookie-cutter recreation. Once one was exposed to this plot-type, all after can come off too forced and repetitious. Further, The Exorcist, like other films such as Psycho, has an entertainment and “scary” factor specifically in correlation to sociocultural barriers and expectations of the time. -“Kiss mah grits” used to be a slightly controversial term, there was a time when “darn” was not heard on television. Along this train of thought, if The Exorcist was released today, it would have the same short-term appeal that various B-horror flicks receive.

        Thus considering one can explain why The Exorcist was scarier than Exorcist II without invoking your attempted explanation, there is little reason to embrace your stitched together attempt to justify your bias…especially considering it wasn’t much of an explanation at all, but a circular attempt to stamp approval on your criticism.

      • troll September 15, 2015 at 7:36 am #

        If it didnt go over your head then might i ask why you felt the need to ask questions? Btw the phrase is to each his own, not each to his own, lets use proper gramer when troll fishing please….unless you are actualy retarded, in which case…lol.

      • thedaillew September 15, 2015 at 2:12 pm #

        “Each to his own” is just an alternate (but equally valid) form of the same phrase. And it’s spelled “grammar”.

      • thedaillew September 15, 2015 at 2:12 pm #

        Also, you mean “let’s”.

      • thedaillew September 15, 2015 at 2:13 pm #

        And your comment would probably scan better if you used a full stop between “not each to his own” and “lets (sic) use proper gramer (sic)”.

    • I see all January 27, 2013 at 5:56 am #

      He does google it in the film. Demons possess people and control them. Hence why the kids go homicidal and can use the camera. Ie demons do not need to enter a body to posses it. They control meta physical beings known as legions to inflence and maintain there domain.in this case mr boogies domain is the kids he has chosen. Also demons have multiple names. You all know why.

    • chris July 10, 2013 at 12:31 am #

      I love your answer to the person that wrote this review. It was WAY over her head and she just doesn’t get it, and they don’t have to explain how the kids knew to use the camera or whatever she complained about. The boogieman really how boring can you get. This person just does not like creative horror and does not appreciate it, Ok so every movie has a few flaws but come on to not find this scary or creative means you didn’t understand it. Well said

      • psychedk July 10, 2013 at 4:34 pm #

        I love how the gender of the author of this blog went over your head.

    • dawn October 17, 2013 at 2:30 am #

      You said it perfectly!

  3. Zoey Farasha November 17, 2012 at 7:31 pm #

    Okay, so Mr. Boogie is infinitely more scary, because it is a child acknowledging that there is something fundamentally WRONG. (Note: the name the movie gives isn’t scary, anyway, if you speak any Arabic letter. Spell it “Bughuul” all you want, Derrickson, your actors pronounce it “bagul”…which is a letter. As in A B C. Not scary.)
    As for the entity (I hate the word demon, it just means powerful spiritual entity that Christian’s don’t worship and therefore use to scare their children to make the religion seem evil and scary) knowing how to use obsolescent technology, I genuinely think that you’re reading too much into it. If it’s been around that long, perhaps it’s akin to an old person preferring “snail” mail to email. It’s old, and it knows the Super 8 film, and that’s enough. But if you’re begging for less explanation, you got it. That’s what it uses. /shrug
    Lastly, why the gore. Maybe it likes it. Maybe it picks the child that most resents the family, but that child still has a familial bond, so in making them murder their family, it breaks both the bond the child has with his/her family AND their mind, making them ripe for the picking. Maybe it likes the color red and knows that the color red lives in the people. Maybe it doesn’t like gore, and it just hyper-stimulates the amgydala of the child, and they go nuts. Whatever the reason, that’s what it does, and I’m not sure it requires explanation.

    I think you’re contradicting yourself, is all. You can beg more explanation and less at the same time. Well, you CAN, because you DID, but it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

  4. Michiel Pater November 18, 2012 at 6:45 pm #

    well i watch the movie last night firsat movie ever that got my heart skip a beat but there is one thing i dont get at one point the deputy sais the victims are drugged and at the end the writer is also drugged but how can a couple of kids get that kind of drugs

    • Zoey Farasha November 26, 2012 at 11:09 pm #

      It’s a glowing liquid (visible in most of the films), so I believe we’re meant to assume that it’s supernatural in origin.,

      • Haledude July 27, 2013 at 8:54 am #

        It’s on bughuuls hands when he picks up the girl.

  5. Daan December 5, 2012 at 3:46 pm #

    Say what you want, but this movie was really scary. I would not want to watch it alone! Also showing a bit isn`t all that bad. Many, many movies have the bad habit of showing too little! And even though this movie could have shown less, it still took some nice time to built up the suspense. Giving a name to the demon sounded pretty scary, besides that they made up a crazy story how people in the Medievil times where scared as shit from it. So by giving the name and the backgroundstory it was pretty scary. As usually the movie could have been better near the end but can you name a movie that is more scary? I mean not really. There are so many bad horror movies out there, and this one was pretty good!

    • robyn March 26, 2013 at 5:39 pm #

      the shinning

  6. Matthew Serpa December 11, 2012 at 7:41 am #

    For one, why do you have to ask questions for every single detail in the movie? Just watch it and enjoy the freakin’ thing. No wonder you don’t have friends because you criticize every movie they would watch. And what do you expect for 5-7 year old kids to call him? I would call him Mr.Boogie too if I was able to put more scare into it. This movie was pretty scary. So don’t go around ruining it for everybody like you ruined your life by not having any friends!

    • Orlando Baez June 25, 2013 at 4:34 am #

      I agree with you. It’s a MOVIE! Suddenly, everybody is a film critic and I suppose they all could have just made it SO MUCH BETTER if they had done it. Just watch it and be quiet! LOL

  7. Matthew Serpa December 11, 2012 at 7:42 am #

    Oh yeah. It’s not a demon it is a freakin’ pagan deity, so get it right dumbass!

    • thedaillew December 11, 2012 at 8:24 am #

      I would have been able to enjoy the movie – and ask far fewer questions – if it had been less stupid or more scary. The fact that fans of this movie seem incapable of defending it without hurling splenetic insults tells me everything I need to know about the audience it appeals to.

      • Matthew Serpa December 25, 2012 at 8:58 am #

        You wouldn’t know what a scary movie was if you even watched. It was pretty scary. I know my movies and I am a pretty good horror genre fanatic and I know a guy who can say some pretty retarded things when i see one. I guess that makes you an idiot then doesn’t it? And I wouldn’t be sending insults, which I rarely do, if I didn’t have to see opinions badly written by jerks like you. So you need to calm down and leave the movie critic jobs to someone more able.

      • thedaillew December 27, 2012 at 11:09 am #

        You weren’t forced to read this blog. And you’ve split an infinitive. You should have written either, “badly written opinions” or “opinions written badly”. “Opinions badly written” just doesn’t scan.

      • Matt February 23, 2013 at 3:33 am #

        Seems to me like Bughuul has been around doing his thing for a long time, possessing people through imagery of himself, or just simply awareness of him. In a modern age, it makes sense that the easiest and most common method of use to get people to see you/be aware of you would be through footage. So, the whole “what’s up with the film” thing, to me, can be explained rather easily. He just hasn’t upgraded to Blu-Ray yet, and knows that the Super 8 is creepier anyway. As for the “why scare the dad” bit, maybe you have to be exposed to enough imagery of him in order for him to be able to take over your soul/the souls of your seed. I think the kid probably watched the film at some point. It’s kind of like the ring, it infected him/her. This is all just random thinking and writing btw, with no planning or brainstorming. I think these ideas could certainly be refined to make sense and be effective.

      • koolaid daemon June 2, 2013 at 9:40 am #

        A few comments allows you to generalize an entire audience? Further, you have given no critique, just hurling nondescript bias.

        “less stupid or more scary”


        The fact remains, even though the commenter was appealing to ridicule, you are committing the fallacy fallacy but not addressing the substance beyond said ridicule. Instead you just level your own ridicule, then denounce an entire mass of people based off your ridicule as them not being able to defend it.

        This comes off as slightly hypocritical due to your inability or disinterest in actually defending your own claim that it was a demon. Opposed to a Pagan deity (which do seem to have distinct traits from demons). In the movie, it was mentioned that it slowly feeds off the souls of children for sustenance. Generally, demons do not need sustenance, thus it is more than a simple closed-case instance of semantics.

  8. Goldentiger December 15, 2012 at 10:52 pm #

    I like bughuul he’s really cool

  9. Name December 21, 2012 at 11:12 pm #

    I’m not going to knock you personally (like many others are apparently more interested in doing), but your third point is suspect. The deity in the movie possesses individuals who see depictions of him, so he would have to use things like images and a video camera in order to do that. Reel film is a very durable recording medium, and some of the murder date too far back to allow for any other form of film to exist.

    It’s implied that the demon (or his child-minions) have left these films for each family who has moved into the house where the previous family died as a method of satiating his lust for kids and dead families, so why bother changing your methods if they’re tried and true?

  10. M.M.M December 22, 2012 at 6:01 pm #

    Actually, even though I was moderately impressed with the movie when I watched it last night (alone!), I agree with some of your points. I don’t understand why the entity felt the need to record all the families and children he conquered, and then haunt a random crime writer with the tapes. Surely, as a demon, he had better things to do?

    And why was he so fussy when it came to choosing families? All the families in the tapes were of the nuclear type– two parents, and a couple of kids (usually two or three). Towards the end, the deputy reveals that every family lived in the house which the previous victims lived in. But what if the next family which moved in didn’t have any young kids? What if it was just a divorced middle-aged man with a dog, or something? Would Baghul then just go off and find another house to start haunting which DID have kids around? It was a little hazy.

    I don’t think there was anything wrong with the demon himself, though. There was one moment, when he is on the laptop screen and twists his head when the writer isn’t looking, that I disliked for its corniness. But the rest was really creepy. The videos were really effective, especially combined with the ominous music score. Don’t understand why Baghul wanted it to be filmed in the first place, though….unless it’s the way he gets his kicks.

  11. cwoodring December 25, 2012 at 1:27 am #

    Wow, you wrote an excellent post–side-splitting funny–and all you get for it is insults? Suspension of disbelief is called for throughout the movie of course, but they just go kind of crazy with things, adding bits and pieces of everything for a shoddy scare.

    And jeez, the audience here really needs to loosen up.

  12. Peter Rees January 6, 2013 at 12:49 am #

    The reason he taped the murders is because the images allow him access to the world and he ‘tortures’ the writer in order to get him to move from the house, so he could claim his next sacrifice, which was explained in the movie

  13. Nicky January 10, 2013 at 3:36 am #

    Sinister is definitely one of the films you almost have to watch four or so times, to me. I have additional questions you may not have thought of like:

    Did It feel like It absolutely had to don a black and white suite? In full visibility I’d still place it old school like maybe 70 80 even has matching shinny shoes XD

    How does It interact with kids that aren’t in the time line of the previous ones if they never heard of It or seen images?

    What’s up with the scorpions and snakes around the place? Does It plant them there? Some deities/demons care said to control animals though i don’t know why black scorpions and (milk possibly) snakes.

    This may be irking but what the fraggel rock happened to Its mouth?! it just isn’t there and it’s creepy!

    M O Skipping 101! It doesn’t really stay within an age/ sex group youngest of the kids he’s delt with looks 9 to 10 oldest possibly 13 and both male and female.It doesn’t really go in a pattern either.

    What would It do if some single parent, a divorced couple with just a pet, or a young couple came on scene? Throwing a “bitch fit” probably wouldn’t be far out of the question get a bit upset but It seems patient . . .

    If In the Ending the children ran Seeing It coming how does It “devourer their souls” if they’re clearly scared sless?

    • thedaillew January 10, 2013 at 8:34 am #

      Ha ha! Brilliant! Thanks for reading.

    • Viscer09 February 25, 2013 at 4:08 am #

      Those are the kids souls he devoured….I don’t understand that part either. If your soul is not AROUND you shouldn’t have a ghost or spirit version of yourself. That’s just my thought though. The movie was creepy and its possibly only because of the gruesome home videos of the families being murdered….but they could have left out the scenes where he kept scaring the writer by appearing on “our” screen and flashing his face. It was creepy, but there are just TOO MANY scary movies that want you to jump. Up until those points, I had goosebumps and was freaking out. But then it got cheesy with the spook scenes. I liked it when the dog was growling at him and you saw the dead kids in the background SUPER creepy. and what’s with B’s face?

      • Viscer09 February 25, 2013 at 4:10 am #

        (Sorry, phone reached its limit I guess)) his face was cool in the pool. He looked like he was wearing a mask. Then it shows a decaying looking face. But when he appeared in front of the screen his face was blurry. It was annoying to me

      • koolaid daemon June 2, 2013 at 9:44 am #

        “If your soul is not AROUND you shouldn’t have a ghost or spirit version of yourself. ”

        The deity is a soul-parasite, thus it avoids killing the host or overfeeding. The best parasites control the hosts and keeps them around as long as possible.

  14. Sir Rantsalot January 12, 2013 at 4:13 am #

    I just finished watching Sinister less than ten minutes ago and came across this searching for a picture of Bughuul I could randomly text to friends for their reactions.

    Personally, I enjoyed it. 99% of horror movies have plotholes and characters that seem inherently stupid at a genetic level. I mean, why would anyone buy the creepy old farmhouse and move their family there?

    Furthermore, are there no other horror movies within the world of a horror movie? Meaning, could Ethan Hawke not have gone into a theater in the world of Sinister and seen what typically happens to people who inhabit houses where gruesome murders occur?

    I’ve just learned to go with the flow and expect that kind of logic – or lack of. In this case, I actually thought Bughuul was shown just enough to be creepy, but not so much that he you were sick of seeing him. I agree that explaining things can often ruin the frightening nature of an entity, but I don’t think naming it has any real effect unless you like to nitpick. They could have named him Mr. Turd McFarty, and while I would have laughed, I still would have felt my skin crawl when Ethan Hawke briefly sees him in the bushes outside. For me, it’s the idea that something unknown, inexplicable, and likely unstoppable has invaded the sanctity of my home (or property).

    I will also admit that while I enjoy horror films as a general rule, even exceptionally stupid ones (which are fun for all the wrong reasons), I am also a bit of a sissy. Creepy dead kids will get me just about every time. It may not make me afraid to turn my lights off, but while they’re on screen, I can feel my heart race.

    All that in mind, I found the article incredibly funny – especially the part about Bughuul giving the kids a crash course in home movie directing.

  15. candy January 13, 2013 at 1:10 pm #

    Boogie probably came from the boogie man coz that’s wat he is like. I think it was scary and I never get frightened by movies. Your just someone that likes complainin and has to find fault with everythin.

    • thedaillew January 16, 2013 at 4:42 pm #

      Not true. There are plenty of movies I like – read some of my other pieces. This one just wasn’t to my tastes.

      • koolaid daemon June 2, 2013 at 9:47 am #

        Indeed but your satirical attempt to critique it came off as nitpicking. Your questions didn’t seem thought provoking or relevant, it just seemed you were unable to suspend your own biases and tastes, which make for a less than ideal critic in my opinion. All the ‘points’ you make could be explained away using no more abstraction than your questions are based in.

  16. Tobia February 21, 2013 at 5:20 am #

    Nice post. Unlike you I have enjoyed the movie though. Good horrors are hard to come by and this is one of the best I have seen in a long time.
    The Boogie thing is silly but I take it as the kids are still kids influenced by the demon but nonetheless kids. If the demon would control the kids then why would the kids run scared when they see him in the end of the movie? I don’t know why it the demon makes the kids commit such horrible things but I assume it has to do with damning their soul or something like that, so he can have them.
    The whole thing of torturing the father with the films is really about coercing him to do what the demon wants: show the symbols to kids who are in turn his prey. Also, I think that the films compel the parents to move to another house, which is also what the demon wants.
    I apologize for my english but I hope you get what I am saying.

    • Love•Pray•makeup February 22, 2013 at 9:19 pm #

      I found this review to be hilarious ! I totally laughed my ass off ! Your points are maybe reading to much into the story yet very valid! I tend to think of the “realalistic” nature of often too fabricated movies that hit our society ,LIKE SERIOUSLY …if I was his wife I’d of left that fucker ELLISON on his second failed attempt to write a best seller,specially when you involve my children in your sick twisted endevors! But as a horror film fan who gets a kick outta the Erie ass music and slow build up to eye covering jumps,I found this movie to be SCARY .NONSENSE none the less but scary still the same. The best jumps I’ve had in a long time I loved it thought it was great ,just sat back with my husband all curled up lights off on a stormy night and enjoyed the thrilling great stupidity of a wonderful scary movie 😉 WATCH IT people an see for yourselves .

  17. Love•Pray•makeup February 23, 2013 at 11:01 am #

    Oops I just seen my post it said in response to TOBIA … Well it was spos to be in response to the three questions 😉 Newbie 👻👻👻👻

  18. Casey February 24, 2013 at 3:55 pm #

    The reason the film was left in the attic is because the spirits of the children put it. And the reason he toying with him is because he wants him to move to the next address. Pay attention to the movie idiot!

  19. beth February 27, 2013 at 4:48 am #

    Baghuul comes from a middle English word that the word “Boogeyman” was originally adapted from.

  20. michelle February 28, 2013 at 6:43 am #

    I have to say, reading your review on the movie had me cracking up! Thanks! 🙂

  21. Matt March 15, 2013 at 1:45 pm #

    Of course he didn’t have to give the children a quick tutorial on how to use to Super 8 camera, had you paid attention to the movie you would have realized that baghuul actually posses the childs body so he can do his bidding via the child u should really get your facts straight before u try to pick apart a movie. Remember kids it’s always better to say nothing and appear stupid then to speak and remove all doubt

    • thedaillew March 15, 2013 at 3:04 pm #

      And it’s better still to realise the intention with which a piece was written, than to interpret it seriously and without irony as a piece of analysis. It was a dumb film that over-egged its pudding in the last act and slipped into tired stereotypes, thus squandering an effective, creepy build-up. I got bored. I started imagining Bughuul – whether in or outside the child’s subconscious – teaching them how to use an obsolete piece of technology. That idea made me laugh. I wrote that idea down. Lighten up.

      • Nathan Hannon April 10, 2013 at 9:50 am #

        I never understand why people feel the need to attack a reviewers post.

        You read a review, knowing that it may conflict your own opinion.

        If you sternly believe in your view, do not read a review.

        I personally found that too little was adequately explained in this movie.

        I would have liked to have seen the relationship between Ashley and Bagul progressing, rather than just having it sprung on us.

        The end was okay, but I found all of the undead children to be extremely corny and off putting, Bagul on his own, walking around the house would have been creepier.

        The undead children served no real purpose:

        Bagul did not need them to possess Ashley, he did not need them to scare the family into moving house, he did not need them to film Ashley’s murder spree, he did not need them to carry Ashley off into the film footage.

        Pointless, in my opinion, but Bagul was very creepy.

      • thedaillew April 10, 2013 at 9:52 am #

        Hi! Thanks for reading! I totally agree. The film had so much promise – great cast, creepy-looking villain – but there were just too many corny bits (the dead kids) and things that didn’t quite tie together properly, that I didn’t enjoy it as much as I’d hoped I would.

  22. Witch April 14, 2013 at 9:47 pm #

    Bughuul is a real word that eventully got translated to boogey man in english. Just look it up.

  23. laurapikeseeley April 14, 2013 at 11:34 pm #

    Nice! This was a super funny review. Honestly, this movie scared the hell out of me, but that’s not hard to do. My complaints were twofold. First, Baghuul was not done very well, which is why I think they had to rely on the dead kids for many of the jump scares. He looked like a Juggalo, not like a pagan diety. Yawn.

    But my biggest complaint was the wife. I would look up her name, but why? She was that boring. Knowing that Ellison liked to move into houses near macabre crime scenes, she asks him in the beginning of the movie if they’d done just that. Does she not know how to Google? Clearly her husband did. Maybe he should teach her some computer literacy skills. Are we supposed to believe she follows her failing writer of a husband with no input into where they go?

    Maybe if she learned how to Google, she could get a job in the modern world, so she could help support her family, which is obviously struggling. Instead, she carefully makes Ellison his coffee and waits on her family at every meal, since that appears to be her only skill.

    The only other adult woman we see in the movie (other than the moms from the other families tied up, awaiting their slaughter) is in the background of that professor’s office when Ellison is Skyping with him or whatever. And guess what? She is bringing the man his coffee. Is she his wife, girlfriend, assistant? We don’t know and we don’t care. Great job with the women characters, guys. The women in this movie are so lame it’s scary- much scarier than Baghuul, actually.

    • Shell_bell April 24, 2013 at 4:17 am #

      Hi and thanks for the comical review!
      Horror is by far, my fave genre. So needless to say, I don’t scare easily! But the first time watching this I was like HFS.
      BUT… Much like Insidious, great lead up… Horrible ending. The first hour was pretty good, but once the dead kids started running around, I got annoyed. Dead kids are scary, yeah, but the quick blurry images of the bughuul were scarier. Even the daughter painting his face was good… Minus the dead kid sitting by it.
      I think this film and Insidious would have been more successful if the “demon” or entity was shown wayyyy less. It’s much scarier getting just a glimpse and allowing your imagination to do the rest. It’s nice the explained what/who bughuul is, but I think too much was revealed.
      I now own Sinister, and have watched it more times than I can count now. After watching it so much, I have noticed a bit of inconsistencies but nonetheless this was a pretty decent scare, which these days is really hard to do. So I will give it props for that. The music and old films were hella creepy (although reminded me of V/H/S) but I didn’t like how spread out the murders were, I guess bughuul only needs to eat souls every decade? Or he just wanted those specific 5 kids? I know they touched on families moving and living at previous addresses but i still DK! I think adding more films/ murders in place of kids running around for 20 mins would’ve improved the creep factor.

    • chris July 10, 2013 at 4:13 pm #

      did you even get the fact that this movie was done before computers were popular and sadly that was what woman were like in that era. come on do they even use 8m film now no. you really didn’t pay attention to the time frame
      this movie was supposed to take place

      • thedaillew July 10, 2013 at 4:41 pm #

        “This movie was done before computers were popular”…?
        Do you mean the movie is set before computers were popular? When is that? The 1970s? Because that would make Ethan Hawke’s online dialogue with Vincent D’Onofrio (video calls, D’Onofrio sending Hawke scanned images etc) kind of weird. Seeing as computers aren’t popular “in the time frame this movie was supposed to take place”, I mean.

      • Haledude July 27, 2013 at 9:11 am #

        He had a smartphone with a flash light and a MacBook. I’m not sure you paid attention.

    • Tasha September 4, 2014 at 2:50 am #

      This is the funniest thing I’ve read “teach her to use google”😂😂 also laughed at bughuul or whatever teaching kids how to work a camera, it’s quite clear the reviewer was taking the mick and doesn’t actually think this happened in the film although I did find it scary these reviews are funny. I don’t understand why everyone’s getting so uptight about it.

  24. Charlie May 4, 2013 at 5:13 pm #

    Some times people just over think things like where does he get parts for the Super8 camera. Demons can make things work regardless of its condition. They are not like us cause if they were a bullet would end their life. When I was growing up, I was told stories of a boogieman and Baba Yaga. I’m part Polish and their demon was Baba Yaga. It kept me in check all through my child hood.
    In the past I have seen things I couldn’t explain. Demons have the ability to do what they want like making camera work even thou it may not in real life. Like it was said earlier in this blog that if the mind can think about it they it could be possible. Just look at Star Trak, Flash Gorden and the rest. Things that were not possible but only in thought are being used today. Back in the 50s who would of thought that pressing a button on your keychain would allow you to start your car let alone unlocking your car from half way around the world with a cell phone. They would of laughed at you as being a nutcase. Next time you say something think about what was just words yesterday is real today

  25. corey May 17, 2013 at 6:58 am #

    i just finished watching the movie and i happened across this page while looking into the folklore of the movie.

    i think i have the answers to your questions

    you see the video chat on the computer in the end of the movie made sense of almost everything. the guy said that bughuul takes control of the child. he does so by having the child view an image of him, early Christians burned all references to him in an attempt to destroy him, hence why all he could find was 3 partially burned pictures.

    A1 though its not clear why he chooses 8mm film to create new images of himself (maybe its just to keep it all in the same format as the first video from 68 ), it is clear why he was in all of them and why he screwed with the fathers head. considering how many intact pictures of him were left in the world he NEEDED to be in the videos and he NEEDED the father to show Ashely the images to allow control over her. the father was loosing his mind and at one point he must have slipped up and Ashely saw something. bughuul most likely did this to all the other families, i bet the camera even belonged to the first family from 1968.

    A2 the name bughuul is derived from the old English word for “bogge” which is the word we got “boogie man” from. so in the movie the boogie man’s real name is bughuul. the kids call him Mr. Boogie in reference to his modern name. he probably doesn’t care what they call him so long as he gets their soul to feed on.

    A3 one possible reason he makes the child slaughter their family is to open the door for the next family to come. its how this family got there, he moved in because the last family was killed there and he was using it for his book. the family before most likely moved there because the previous owners getting killed made the once expensive house, cheap.

    on the other hand it could be more supernatural than that, it could be the final phase of obtaining the child’s soul. theoretically speaking if there is demons in the movie then there has to be god or some deity representing all that is good. assuming that this is true then we can assume that some unspecified religion is also. in most religions committing murder can condemn your soul to an equivalence of hell, maybe that is why he forces them to murder their family, to ensure the soul wont go to heaven or the equivalency of heaven, and he can feed off of it.

    anyway this is just my thoughts on the movie

    • Blaine Inagaki May 9, 2015 at 7:22 pm #

      Super delayed response, I know.

      Being that he’s a Pagen deity (according to the movie), it could also very well be that part of murdering the family has to do with something ritualistic. One final task that must be completed in order to be able to remove all physical evidence that the child even existed.

      Loved this movie, maybe some clips that could have been edited to avoid ‘less creepy’ scenes but that’s a lot of horror films. But anybody watching this film for the first time that doesn’t jump hard at the ‘reel’ of the child tending the lawn…I don’t want to meet that person.

      I will say that I think if a reviewer is going to write from a semi-serious perspective though it ought to be made known. Most reviews are meant to be serious opinions after all and therefore will be argued against in a serious manner, regardless if it’s done in an over-dramatic manner or not.

      I completely disagree with what he had to say, and do think his questions were easy to answer in a manner that would give support to the film. However I did like the theory of Bagul teaching kids to use a Super 8 film and what might be muttered under his breath in the process.

      I think most people review films from a shallow aspect as it is anyway though. While masses might say it was awesome, and give shallow reasons, I think anyone wanting to write a review should look at the film in an appropriate ‘serious’ light, and review against it as passionately and accurately as a super-fan of any movie who knows it intimately would review in favor of it.

      Course this is the internet, so I know that’s not going to happen. And I’ve rambled on long enough I think. Hope you have a good day, and thanks for reading (at least some of) this.

  26. Sinisterkillings May 21, 2013 at 3:06 am #

    I can answer all of these for you.

    1. The super 8 films were there to be left as a wandering thought to leave people to think for themselves of where the films may have came from not to ask questions about them.

    2. The Mr. Boogie thing doesn’t piss me off because the reason he is called this by the kids is because maybe when the kids killed their family they were under a spell AT THE MOMENT and then bagul released them from it to give the next victim a reason to be scared. At the time of the drawings the kids drew what they had saw and put Mr. Boogie due to the childhood nightmares of a so-called boogie man that lived in the closet or under the bed and gave nightmares to children who believed. In this case bagul hides in photographs and videos and comes out at the appropriate time.

    3. He does do this to toy with them but also to say that this is the next victims future and if you listen to the plot if you watch the videos there’s no escape for the victim no matter what. This gives the all around eerie feeling of your fate being sealed no matter if you like it or not.

    Instead of watching overrated paranormal activities and exorcist movies watch this and you’ll know the exorcist wasn’t scary.

  27. msweenMatt May 22, 2013 at 1:42 am #

    I actually quite liked Sinister, but the biggest issue for me was that while researching this supposed pagan deity, the characters somehow managed to completely gloss over the fact that where there is one pagan deity, there are MANY (the Sumerians and Babylonians were polytheistic). The Sumerians believed that there were at least 3600 of them (the Annunaki). Some of the most prominent ones, Innin and Enki, were thought to be very well disposed towards their followers, were among the highest and most respected of their pantheon and didn’t really require that much in return (wine, fruit and grain would suffice for Innin, for example). Not to mention the fact that Enki specifically made a vow to help ALL sentient beings should they ask for it. If, at any point, had any of the characters researched some OTHER pagan Gods, real or made up by the writers, the characters could probably have saved themselves (and introduced some sort of thoroughly entertaining divine showdown, even if the new God didn’t save the girl or completely succeed for whatever reason). The showdown in and of itself could be quite terrifying, with some really great effects.

    I know the film wasn’t supposed to be overtly pagan or religious or anything, but it was something that really stood out for me. If the film had been about an obscure Greek or Norse God feeding on children, surely someone would have wondered why the Olympians or Aesir were tolerating it or simply whether any of them exist/are aware of it. Sure someone would suggest petitioning Artemis (protector of children) or Thor to deal with this evil God. If it were about spirits, werewolves or vampires surely someone would have wondered if there were others of their kind and not simply taken the only one they’ve seen at face value, ignoring the various elements of folklore specifically dealing with ridding oneself of spirits, werewolves or vampires?

    The creators could even have set up a number of sequels featuring Gods with similar arrangements (where one requires children to feed on another might require human sacrifice, sex, knowledge, war, youth, dreams etc. to appease them or earn their protection). The other ones could be manipulating/aiding/killing people the world over in similar ways to how Bughuul manipulated the girl, behind the scenes, through images or music or something. The possibilities with the vast array of pagan gods are pretty much endless. Some of them are very dark and cruel (like some of the Aztec deities) and thrive on pain and death where others are noted as helpful and friendly (most of the Norse and Hindu Gods).

    And if they didn’t want the viewer to ask these sorts of questions, why call it a Sumerian/Babylonian pagan deity in the first place? Why not call it a monster, a spirit, a daemon, a coalescence of the worlds past evils towards children of ambiguous origin and get on with the grizzly murders?

    I’m not sure the pagan Gods have really be done in the horror genre before and parts of Sinister made it seem like it could actually work quite well if done properly…

    As for the camera, I would think a divinity of any level would probably be able to work out most, if not all, of human technology. And probably have a preference too, even if it is outdated.

    And the reason he kills the family? Well, something that exists by slowly feeding on the souls of children he has forced to murder their own loved ones probably has a real penchant for suffering of all kinds, even if they don’t actually sustain him. Not to mention the fact that murdering the entire family eliminates the closest witnesses and prevents him being followed from one victim to the next, which might jeopardise his next feed. Or as someone else said, it may simply be a necessary part of the ritual that allows him to take a child’s soul in the first place, complete corruption.

    Aaaaanyway, Sinister was one of the best horrors I’ve seen for a long while…mostly because all of the others have been either awful or not scary. Which is a shame.

    • koolaid daemon June 2, 2013 at 9:50 am #

      Simply put, pagan worshipers did not have to get all aspects of their understood or applied mythology correct, they can make mistakes. In other words, it may not be as simple as merely researching another deity, for that deity may not exist or function as thought to, or may have perished etc.

  28. Duce June 3, 2013 at 11:53 pm #

    The super 8 camera was used because he has been doing this since the 80’s, and I think that baghuul is an awesome character, ever since the trailer and seeing him I was instantly attached to him and wanted to find out a lot about him. This movie was very interesting in my opinion and I don’t mind watching it again, I watched for the first time today and was scared at many of the scenes. It reminded me of insidious which I also really enjoyed

  29. tommy June 9, 2013 at 7:37 pm #

    Its a fucking movie answered all ur. ? S

  30. tommy June 9, 2013 at 7:39 pm #

    And super 8 camera came out in 66 same year as first movie pay attention that prolly y he uses it

  31. edgarare June 10, 2013 at 6:26 pm #

    I’m not posting to disagree with you, I’m posting because I enjoyed this movie very much (and has inspired me in my own filmmaking pursuits). I see why you feel the way you do about this movie because I asked myself the same questions; nothing I am going to say will try to change your mind, although koolaid daemon (June 2nd 2013) made some excellent points.

    Just wanna say I loved the film for these reasons:
    – the name is awesome: it really is sinister, but in a way, the title ambiguously misleads
    – the overall plot and development seemed natural, some great unexpected twists
    – it strays slightly enough from convention to make it scarier than most films
    – the movie overall was a bit reserved in the development, the ending of which serves as a great climax
    – deputy so and so was such a great character
    – the sickening imagery of the tapes, the soundtrack of the tapes (especially BBQ)
    – Lawn Work…oh my God.
    – how each tape gets progressively more sinister
    – the expected jumps that still manage to scare (admittedly, some worse than others)
    – etc, etc.

    and here are some things I didn’t like:
    – the attic scene where Bughuul pops out (scary still, yet overlypredictable regardless)
    – the computer scene where Bughuul turns his head

    Tha being said, I had some of the same questions as you. Particularly, I wondered about the practicality of Mr. Boogie’s endeavor in making all these tapes and remaking them in case they’re destroyed (I playfully imagined Mr. boogie going to the store to make copies of his tapes). All I have to say about the questions is that they are valid flaws of the script that, once highlighted, remove some of the power of the film.

    However, these same aspects in question, when seriously considered, stray from the point of the film: for example, imagine if the writers went through the trouble to explain how Mr. Boogie teaches the kids how to use the equipment; would that have fixed the issues you had? Another issue: you say Mr. Boogie isn’t Bughuul’s real name, which is technically misspelled in a sense, a point which you find absurd. However, what about Pazuzu in The Exorcist? Didn’t the girl know him as Captain Howdy? Couldn’t this re-naming just play into the sinister nature of the entities in possessing their victims?

    The way I started watching the movie, I was like, “Eh…I’ve heard of the movie…I guess I’ll watch it.” The movie had my immediate interest with the first shot and by the time the tapes started being watched, I was hooked. The way people were being murdered had this strange aura of maniacal sadism, akin to the most deranged sociopaths that have been recorded in recent history (Fred and Rosemary West are particularly evil examples).

    As the story progressed, then the ghost plot started unfolding, and halfway through the film I realized this was a take on the Boogeyman. On the one hand, the Boogeyman is in no way a fresh take on monsters; but on the other, it took me until halfway through the film to realize what the film was. In a way, that was its own twist in itself: that there could be a new, brutally gruesome version of the classic monster story. By then, I was ready to see the movie through the end, which had an ending that sticks with you. All in all, flaws considered as well, the movie holds a 8/10 for me. For context, most other films nowadays (Mama for example) hover around a 5/10 for me.

    I hope you know I don’t want to bombard with questions; I’m not here to criticize your views. I thought this to be quite insightful, especially the dialogue that came up as a result of your post. I joining the dialogue, I only wish to express my view. Perhaps it’s just that I feel like this movie tried to break away from horror movie convention, despite the way other crappy horror films have saturated audiences in expectation.

  32. stephen goodman June 16, 2013 at 10:35 pm #

    My whole thing is ywhy didn’t he just take trevor instead of his daughter. I mean I get the whole house painting thing when u think about it . But trevor did have nught terrors so it would have been easier for mr boogie to tale him. I just felt the part about the lawn care was the only spooky part. This movie is nothing but a giant movie that builds ip to a certian point and then decideds to scare the shit out of you. Its like the maze game with the scary ending. That’s all it is

    • ShelleyPink June 17, 2013 at 7:03 pm #

      It’s obvious why Mr Boogie chose Ashley over Trevor because throughout the film, Ashley is clearly starving for attention from her dad. The parents are concerned with Trevor’s night terrors and causing problems in the new school and pay little attention to Ashley. The only time they seem to pay attention to her is when she paints the missing girl on the wall.

  33. Haledude July 27, 2013 at 8:46 am #

    I feel like what really ruined the movie was the over appearance of Bughuul himself. The movie explains that he lures the children into his spell so the Mr. Boogie nickname is a cute meets creepy effect and I actually enjoyed that. I also agree it was intriguing that the children he abducts do the killings.

    What I wanted to see out of the movie was a struggle. Some battle for the daughters soul, whether successful or not. But in the end, Buhguul goes from being creepy and aloof to in your face and predictable and that is what ruins movie. Once the Dad gets drugged you are basically like “He’s fucked.” And then he dies. No hiding from his daughter, no shit this isn’t going as planned, Bughuul intervenes. Nothing. Just some clustered ghost children, a not so creepy girl, and a daddy figure demon. It just lost the mystique, and ruined the well built tension.

  34. Adele October 1, 2013 at 2:02 pm #

    I love this film. Creepy little girls scare the crap outta me! Best horror Ive seen in a long long time

  35. Adele October 1, 2013 at 2:04 pm #

    And the music score is amazing

  36. brad March 5, 2014 at 8:49 pm #

    They clearly stated that the child must see the demon sign first then baghul will be able to capture his soul, go and check the university doctor dialogue.

  37. Traditional Film Enthusiasm March 31, 2015 at 8:54 pm #

    Super 8 isn’t “almost obsolete” – far from it; though the cameras are no longer manufactured on a large scale, film and repair parts are readily available if you know where to look. And not all kids are cell-phone toting idiots who can’t operate a film camera. I have one and I’m sixteen, my little brother knows how to set one up too and he’s eleven years old, and I’m sure there are a few other kids out there who love older technology rather than indulging in new and inferior technology.

    In all honesty I think you’ve over-analyzed Sinister. It’s your opinions but in my opinion it’s just a fun, creepy little movie that takes nostalgia and makes it into something… well, something sinister. If it’s over-analyzed too much it’ll become like Kubrick’s 1980 film ‘The Shining’.

    The photos on this blog post are a laugh-riot though, Bughuul going into Jessop’s was hilarious. 😀

  38. Phillip Decker August 19, 2015 at 7:39 am #

    Oh man. I totally agree. Like, why’s he dressed so dapper? When did ancient Sumerian Demon Gods start dressing like Elvis Costello? I’m still gonna watch the second one. Beggar’s can’t be choosers.

  39. Mat August 23, 2015 at 7:20 am #

    Wow, this movie would have been better if I was an idiot and never read, watched, or retained any information ever. Let’s start with the scorpion, how did an Emperor Scorpion end up in that place. How about the tree, it’s as if no time has passed; a major part of the tree was cut open and off, why were there any leaves on that cut off branch. How about the neck slicing; kinda tired of seeing shows and movies depicting this action as if could be done with a butter knife. Oh and I get it had a very low budget, doesn’t really explain why the lighting in certain scenes was so messed up. Near the end kids in the back seat, the taillights are throwing off way too much light; as if the entire forest is on fire. WHY THE FUCK DO AMERICANS KEEP RIPPING OFF CALL OF CTHULHU, oh wait a minute I forgot the entire American horror genre is rip off of Lovecraft, which inturn is a ripoff of The King in Yellow.

  40. Tressa white September 6, 2015 at 3:55 pm #

    The movie reminded me of the childrens cartoon/laika movie Coraline in whitch a witch/demons eats the souls of children and sews buttons on their eyes and eat their souls to live..it like Sinister lures children that are neglated and refuse to pay attention to their kids because they were so caught up in work….its amazing to me how films are projecting kids and demons due to spiritualist believing that children are sensitive to the supernatural and are susceptible to being drawn to things that imitate joy and happiness….sinister however contridicts tbat because there was nothing happy about the kids going with the demon and there was still a sense of fear even after he toom.them to his netherworld…its like he ate their souls and continued to torment them..which is sad…i wish more courting was involved in effort to understand why they chose that verses the demons history….i gave the film a 5 due to the drawn out super 8 movies and the father moving in a house with a weird back story without the wife Googling the information on her new home but being upset about finding out afterwards just unrealistic…

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