It's all done in questionable taste, mucking around in the nasty terrain of snuff films and children in constant peril, but Sinister is smart and well-crafted, and it scarcely gives the audience a moment to breathe.
—Scott Tobias The A.V. Club
And then there is Vincent D'Onofrio, as a university professor of the occult and mythological, who opens up a line of possibility that eventually saves the ending from being a red herring. Yes, the ending is horrifying, but I don't believe in that stuff. I'm pretty sure I don't.
—Roger Ebert Chicago Sun Times
Occasionally stupid (stretching even fright-flick conventions) but scary nonetheless, the picture should please horror fans.
—John DeFore Hollywood Reporter
Derrickson bounces back from his insipid redo of "The Day The Earth Stood Still" with an effective chiller that's got a skeleton or two in its closet.
—Kim Newman Empire
Sinister is pretty much everything to hate about modern horror in one mixed bag, a ramshackle teardown of jump-scares and creaky tricks, saw-it-coming "surprises" and the lead-footed thud of inevitability as it tediously places one clumsy foot in front of the other, plodding towards a finale that comes far too late.
—James Rocchi Box Office Magazine