I saw this movie this evening. Somewhat mixed feelings.
I actually have a soft spot in my heart for Derrickson, who did The Exorcism of Emily Rose a few years back, which is based on the real-life exorcism of Annelise Michele over in Germany. An anthropologist wrote a book about the exorcism, explaining in part how it seemed to be a socio-psychological thing where the actual exorcism ritual reinforced/strengthened particular brainwaves that would have enabled this girl to overcome some psychological issues she was experiencing... and I was rather amazed that this anthropologist was incorporated as an actual character into the movie. But the other thing I remember about the picture is that the director had a decent feel for atmosphere and unsettling imagery.
In Sinister, a true crime writer moves his family (unbeknownst to them, which as you can imagine might really piss off his wife at some point) into a murder house so as to inspire/aid him in writing a book about it. Unfortunately he gets more than he bargains for, when he finds a box of Super 8 movie reels up in the attic... the contents (labeled in a fashion that seems innocent but is actually deliciously ironic) of which weren't quite what he expected to find.
Thus the movie proceeds at a hellbent pace into creepier and creepier incidents, in a house that never seems to be illuminated by the light of day, until events move forward and reach their preordained conclusion (which I figured out halfway through the movie).
There are some actual "jump out of your seat" scares -- Derrickson does know how to set up such moments and then whack them as hard as possible with 30000 volt hammer, so that even when you expect them to show up, they can still really make you jump -- but the rest of the story didn't always feel authentic. I didn't really understand why the wife loved this writer guy, for example. The one scene that felt pretty raw and honest is their big argument about 2/3 of the way through -- having been married, that whole scene rang true to me as to what the most heated arguments can sound like -- but a lot of the rest of the sound and fury seemed to be Business as Usual in a Horror Movie.
This has actually been one of the better horror movies to come out all year, sadly. A few images and incidents from the movie do linger, but more due to their shock rather than because of the characters. It was good for an evening of entertainment, though. I think Sinister had a few more shocks than Insidious (for example) but Insidious seemed to be the better movie overall. If I compare it to "The Woman in Black," I think the latter actually had more shocks as well, but a kind of disappointing ending.
So I guess a follow-up question would be, "What kind of thing makes a horror movie appeal to you?" Better yet, "What makes such a movie LINGER in your head, as opposed to being forgotten as soon as the lights come on?"