Movie review: 'Sinister' is creepy in the worst ways

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The horror movie "Sinister" veers inexorably from being a mildly effective bump-in-the-night thriller to being the sort of depressing monster mash that makes you feel icky inside.

True-crime author Ellison Oswalt (Ethan Hawke) moves, with his unsuspecting wife (Juliet Rylance) and kids (Michael Hall D'Addario and Clare Foley), into the Pennsylvania house that was the site of a family massacre, the subject of his next book. He finds a box in the attic with Super 8 home movies and a projector, which captured that killing and many others — and Ellison, in watching the films, not only learns of a strange presence at each crime scene but unleashes that presence on the Oswalt family.

Director/co-writer Scott Derrickson ("The Exorcism of Emily Rose") applies the screws slowly, mixing found-footage atmospherics with bump-in-the-night shocks. But Derrickson squanders those scares in a finale that's creepy in all the worst ways.; —



Opens Friday, Oct. 12, at theaters everywhere; rated R for disturbing violent images and some terror; 110 minutes. For more movie reviews, visit