On the surface level, Sinister doesn’t sound so different from a million other haunted house films. Ethan Hawke stars as a writer who moves his family into a new home, in which the previous occupants were brutally murdered. When he stumbles upon a box of home movies in the attic, he begins to make some even more horrifying connections.

But when it comes to movies like these, it’s the execution that really counts, and based on the reviews we’ve read out of SXSW it sounds like Scott Derrickson (The Exorcism of Emily Rose) and first-time screenwriter C. Robert Cargill (a.k.a. AICN’s Massawyrm) know exactly what they’re doing. A new trailer has just hit the web, and it looks pretty damn spooky. Watch it after the jump.

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Any straight guy who sees The Runaways will have difficulty standing up to go text outside, what with a 15-year-old Dakota Fanning seducing Japan in a bustier, snorting coke, and tonguing KStew. I mean, what does it all mean? And it’s only moderately less awkward discussing the burgeoning sexuality and punk hedonism of young girls with another guy. So, rather than compute my feelings about the rock biopic into a traditional review, I decided to ask a female’s opinion. /Film could not be more psyched to discourse on The Runaways with NYC-based author Marisa Meltzer, whose swell new book, Girl Power, is about the history and culture of female rockers.

Hunter Stephenson: Following the press screening for The Runaways, I was surprised to hear you loved the film. Having written a book on the legacies and challenges of females in punk, rock, and pop music from the ’70s onward, what real insight does the movie offer on the subject?

Marisa Meltzer: I guess I should admit that I’m a person who is very easily entertained. When you throw in platforms, teenage makeout sessions, and The Stooges on the soundtrack, I’m willing to overlook the film’s flaws. And there are certainly flaws: too much exposition, terrible character development of the other band members, narrative cliches. But I think one important thing to remember is that there really aren’t that many stories being told about women in music—and directed by a woman, no less!—so I’m excited when anyone throws me a bone. I think it’s important for people, especially young women, who might go see The Runaways to realize that girls playing rock music wasn’t always a given, and that their gender was way more of a barrier just a few decades ago than it is now.

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