Sinister's Title Is A Subtle Nod To Another Fan-Favorite Horror Film

Early word of mouth indicates that "The Black Phone" is Scott Derrickson's terrifying return to horror, with his last feature being "Doctor Strange" for Marvel Studios. Whether he's playing with a horror icon ("Hellraiser: Inferno"), or blending the courtroom drama with the shaky foundation of exorcisms ("The Exorcism of Emily Rose"), Derrickson's heart is clearly planted in the world of scary movies. Even something like "Deliver Us From Evil," for all of its flaws, leaves you with some pretty grotesque imagery you're unlikely to forget. I think you know where I'm going next with this.

Not only does Derrickson deliver some unnerving frights in "Sinister," but science has apparently proven that it's the scariest movie ever. While I'm not quite of that mind, there's no doubt it's a really effective horror movie that preys on the fear of uncovering something you weren't meant to see. There's truly no way to shake that bold opening scene with the Super 8 reel of the hanging family. That there's no music to accompany it, nor the other reels, makes it feels so much more tangible, and therefore, harrowing. "Sinister" perfectly describes the essence of Derrickson's chiller, but its title also shares something in common with another Blumhouse horror movie.

You can never go wrong with a creepy adjective

Within the oral history of "Sinister" from Complex, Jason Blum talked about how Scott Derrickson had initially come to him with the idea of naming the film "Found Footage," but Blum felt like "it would be confusing to people." I see where Derrickson's head was at, given the Super 8 snuff films at the black heart of "Sinister" falls in line with the terrifying disposition of found footage horror, but going with a bolder title works better. Blum even thought "Sinister" worked as a companion piece to another successful Blumhouse title:

"Scott came up with the title 'Sinister,' and when I first heard it, I loved the way it sounds. I like the nod to 'Insidious,' too — I thought that was kind of fun."

While both films are inherently different, given that "Insidious" is more of a funhouse nightmare, Derrickson's project does share a similarity in that they both feature a tall and omnipresent demonic figure from another realm utilizing children to exact their bottom line. A title like "Sinister" also falls in line with the other many horror films that use adjectives to their advantage, such as "Terrified," "Malignant," and "Depraved."

Adjectives can't explain, but they give you a feeling of the horrors in which you're about to experience, and in that case, there's truly no better word to describe this film than simply "Sinister." Blum has even hinted at an "Insidious" and "Sinister" crossover film, which I take less as an actual project in development and more of a gag. But if Blum and co. actually want to have a go at it, I'll bet we get a teaser poster of the Lipstick-Faced Demon and Bughuul staring each other down.

"Sinister" is currently streaming on Peacock.