Directed By: Scott Derrickson

Starring: Ethan Hawke, Juliet Rylance, Fred Thompson, James Ransone, Clare Foley, and Michael Hall D'Addario

Halloween is on the horizon. That means it's the season of crappy horror movies! That's unfortunately what we as moviegoers are subjected to on an annual basis. A couple of long-running franchises such as Paranormal Activity or Saw release their next terrible installments, and a few newcomers typically fall flat. This weekend, we have a horror newbie in Scott Derrickson's Sinister, a film full of fatal flaws.

In the not-so-distant past, a family of four is hanged to death from a tree in their backyard. Sometime later, famous true crime writer Ellison Osborne (Ethan Hawke) moves into the house where this family was viciously murdered by an unknown killer. Ellison once again finds himself in a rather unenviable situation. He's re-opening old wounds, and no one in town appreciates this, especially the local sheriff (Fred Thompson). His wife Tracy (Juliet Rylance), their daughter Ashley (Clare Foley), and their son Trevor (Michael Hall D'Addario) suffer because of this as well. To make matters worse, his family doesn't know that they're living in a house where horrific murders occurred.

While exploring the house, Ellison finds a bunch of home videos recorded on Super 8 film in a box in the attic. A projector is there in the box as well. When Ellison plays the videos in his office, he witnesses murder after murder as he watches families getting hanged, burnt, drowned, and sliced to death. He realizes that this crime he's studying is much bigger than he could have ever imagined and that it's connected to several other sick crimes that date back decades. What he doesn't realize is that he's placed a bull’s-eye right on his family for this mysterious killer.

Sinister has to be the driest horror film I've seen all year. I understand that director Scott Derrickson is using discovered footage as the main gimmick of the movie, but this is definitely not the way to terrify audiences. The past may be gruesome, but it's not scary, especially not on grainy Super 8 film. Just showing footage doesn't allow Derrickson to create a fear-filled environment. There's no room for him to build to epic moments of terror. Hawke's Ellison just starts the projector, and the blood starts flowing. Where’s the fun in that? Because there's no fear factor, Sinister is unbelievably boring.

While Sinister is plagued with a dull premise, that's not the movie's only problem. When there actually are some potentially scary things happening in the present, Derrickson wastes these opportunities. Hawke's Ellison is forced to make all the classic dumb moves that characters make in horror films. In every instance where he should be headed for the hills, Ellison does the exact opposite of what a person with common sense would do. To make matters worse, Derrickson repeats the same stale scare tactic on a nightly basis, so we get several showings of the same dumb mistakes within the movie.

There's no doubt that Sinister is a horrible horror film. The movie absolutely sucks! What's worse is that it's long. Every time I thought the pain of this bad movie was over, it just kept going. I just wanted it to end. Sinister gets a wasted rating. Because it's that time of year where people start breaking out the costumes and candy, I have to recommend a different shot today than my usual. Have a few candy corn jello shots with this one.