While Paranormal Activity 4 is trying to scare audiences with its (potentially) clever use of the found footage sub-genre, another horror film, Sinister, promises a return to the basics. Rather than employ gimmicks, director Scott Derrickson’s film appears to rely heavily on what most consider makes for a truly scary film: horrific imagery.

In the red band trailer for the film, viewers are treated to a better understanding of why Sinister has been counted among this year’s must-see horror flicks. However, there isn’t much in the way of exposition, so those intrigued by the footage should also check out the film’s official trailer.

In Sinister, Ethan Hawke plays a struggling writer (Ellison) who moves his family into a house with a haunted past. Like in The Amityville Horror, the house in which Ellison’s family now resides was once the site of an entire family’s grisly murder.

Upon further inspection of the house, Ellison discovers a series of home movies depicting additional grisly murders involving small families, suggesting that the original murder that drew him to the house might not have been the only one. But hidden deep within the films is something more – an evil force that begins to make its way into the real world.

The film’s conceit isn’t wholly original, but the ways in which it approaches jump scares and blending of images appears to be pretty unique. However, Sinister‘s similarities with the film V/H/S are hard to overlook, as both feature a collection of “haunted” home movies, albeit with different results.

Before Sinister, director Derrickson enjoyed tremendous success with his breakout film The Exorcism of Emily Rose, a film that was light on actual scares but was filled to the brim with moody atmosphere. Unfortunately, Derrickson’s follow-up to Exorcism was the critically panned remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still with Keanu Reeves.

Thankfully, Derrickson has gone back to his roots – and united with Insidious producer Jason Blum – to hopefully deliver another creepy hit with Sinister. Besides Ethan Hawke and Law and Order: Criminal Intent‘s Vincent D’Onofrio, Sinister‘s cast is comprised of relative unknowns including Juliet Rylance (who plays Ellison’s wife) and James Ransome.

Sinister hits theaters on October 12th, 2012. Horror fans interested in seeing the film before anyone else can participate in the See Sinister First campaign to win a chance at an early hometown screening.