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(R) Sinister, the new film from Scott Derrickson (I really liked his The Exorcism of Emily Rose and don’t hate his rather boring remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still), is my favorite theatrical horror experience since The Strangers. Ethan Hawke intensely stars as true crime novelist Ellison Oswalt, who has moved his family—pretty wife, tween son, young daughter—into the murder house for the latest crime he is investigating. What he discovers is much deadlier and more demony than he could have imagined. Sinister utilizes found footage—Ellison finds a box of home movies in the attic of his new home—more uniquely than any of the glut of the latest (fading?) horror fad. These little short snuff films and Ellison’s drunk, terrified reactions supply some of the movie’s scariest moments, and Derrickson shows a lot of ingenuity in how he subtly shows the grisly kills. Extra points for James Ransone (HBO’s “Generation Kill” and “Treme”) as the not-as-dumb-a-deputy-as-he-seems comic relief. Released amid a lot of buzz in the horror community, this terrific October chiller delivers.


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