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

Published October 13, 2012 12:12 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

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.

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