By and large, any estimable director or screenwriter knows what audiences have come to realize about horror flicks: They’re pathetic, semi-pornographic, hilarious home videos. Millennial director Scott Derrickson seeks to quell those preconceptions by way of “Sinister,” his new creaky, good-evil nightmare.



Ethan Hawke plays a crime novelist whose family becomes subject to supernatural horror after he watches a series of unsettling home videos. Hawke executes his “protective father, yet intrepid adventurist” duty. And plot vehicles include a prehistoric symbol and a string of hanged family members.

It seems that “Sinister” borrows, then synthesizes elements from a team of hit horror films, like “The Ring,” “The Exorcist” and “Paranormal Activity.” It implements the patient silence and the abrupt Handicam pans to project a beautifully terrifying experience.

“Sinister” will prove itself a blockbuster that elicits schoolgirl screams. But most of all, it will linger behind your forehead when you turn off the lights, slip into icy sheets and close your eyelids. The imagination will run amok: “Sinister” has done its job.

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