Sinister ★★★½

Like a lot of self-obsessed directors, Scott Derrickson dresses up his lead actor (Ethan Hawke) as himself in a plot that mirrors Derrickson's own career. Derrickson's success with "The Exorcism of Emily Rose" and subsequent fall with the failure of his remake of "The Day the Earth Stood Still" mirrors this film's true crime author, who had a successful book, but a string of duds has rendered him irrelevant, chasing his tail while hungry for the adulation of the talk show circuit. His thirst for renewed success leads him to a crime that seems like the big fish he's been chasing, but whoops, turns out he encounters a child-eating Babylonian demon instead. The critical acclaim he seeks is a pagan idol that demands child sacrifice. The success of "Sinister" ended up putting Derrickson back into the good graces of the Hollywood elites, as they allowed him to direct "Doctor Strange" for the cultural kommissars at Disney. "Sinister" reveals a great deal about its filmmaker in hindsight.