Following an overabundance of found-footage horror films flooding theaters over the past few years, recent scary movies have attempted to find clever variations on the sub-genre. Those approaches include: merely aping the look of a faux documentary (Chernobyl Diaries), incorporating more straight sci-fi elements into the mix (Area 407) – and using recovered footage of horrible events as a pivotal plot point, as is the case with the upcoming horror-thriller, Sinister.
Today, we have an official trailer from Sinister to show. The film marks the latest venture into the supernatural horror realm by writer/director Scott Derrickson, who started his career off by working on sub-par sequels like Urban Legends: Final Cut and the direct-to-video Hellraiser: Inferno. Since then, Derrickson has gone on to achieve more financial success (if limited critical success) with movies such as The Exorcism of Emily Rose and the Day the Earth Stood Still remake.
In addition to handling helmer duties, Derrickson co-wrote Sinister with first-timer C. Robert Cargill. The film revolves around Ellison (Ethan Hawke), a true-crime novelist who moves his wife and daughter into a home where the previous owners mysteriously died some nine months earlier (Original idea, right?). Once there, Ellison uncovers a collection of old-fashioned, home video reels which reveal the gruesome history behind how said previous tenants ended up dead. However, in doing so, Hawke’s character also inadvertently unleashes a malicious supernatural entity upon his family.
Judging by the trailer, Sinister relies on several tried-and-true tropes of the horror genre (including, the young daughter who forms a “friendship” with one of the ghosts), but could serve up some effective jump scares and disturbing moments. Derrickson also appears poised to do a good job building suspense and heightening the fear factor, as Hawke’s writer slowly uncovers increasingly-terrifying details about just what exactly is this monster he’s unleashed upon his loved ones. It surely helps having someone like Vincent D’Onofrio (Men in Black, The Cell) as the one to deliver exposition about said ghoul.
There have been variations on the idea of a boogeyman who can enter our world through modern technology since The Ring, but for the large part such horror flicks have delivered on the promise of that concept (One Missed Call, looking at you). Sinister probably won’t renovate that premise either, but it has potential to be an overall fun and scary viewing experience, for the upcoming Halloween season.
Sinister arrives in theaters around the U.S. on October 5th, 2012.