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Sunday Scaries: Ranking the Horror Films of Scott Derrickson

Universal Pictures

The Sunday Scaries are upon us once again! Yes, as the weekend concludes, most of us feel an oncoming sense of anticipatory dread about the week ahead. Anxiety about work manifests itself into a feeling that’s known as the Sunday Scaries. However, we at Awards Radar are here to combat that, by taking back the name. Now, we want you think about a horror-centric piece on the site when you hear the term. So, let us continue on with another installment of the Awards Radar Sunday Scaries! Today, we’re looking at the works of a genre filmmaker who’s having a very good weekend…

Scott Derrickson has become one of the name filmmakers in horror, and deservedly so. Mixing his genres, Derrickson tends to make a horror outing every other time he steps behind the camera. That seems to keep his passion for the genre high, resulting in expertly crafted scares. First co-writing with Paul Harris Boardman and now with C. Robert Cargill, his movies are always worth anticipating. Arguably, he’s not even given the credit he deserves, since he’s quickly becoming one of the new horror masters. For those wondering, I’m not including Hellraiser: Inferno since I’m not actually sure I’ve seen it, and it’s direct to video fare, so it’s just not meant to be on the same level of his other works. Aside from that, his four other horror flicks are fair game…

Here is how I would rank the scary movies directed by Derrickson:

Sinister

4. Deliver Us From Evil – The nadir of Scott Derrickson’s fright flicks has an interesting hook. Mixing police procedural with the supernatural has potential. Cops and exorcists? Sure, that could work. Deliver Us From Evil does not, however, making it the rare horror outing of Derrickson’s that’s a failure. From here on out, it’s much smoother sailing.

3. The Exorcism of Emily Rose – This time around, Derrickson mixed ecorcism horror with a courtroom drama/legal thriller. These genres merged more successfully, making The Exorcism of Emily Rose a solid film. Mostly, it was a calling card that sup the director up for the success that would soon follow in horror.

2. The Black Phone – In my review of The Black Phone (found here) from earlier in the week, I had this to say: “The Black Phone may be a Joe Hill adaptation, but it really does feel like a Stephen King work. That’s obviously a comparison both have tried to avoid in the past, but Scott Derrickson really does lean in to the King of it all. It meets Stand By Me, with a bit of Panic Room thrown in, isn’t the worst way to describe this flick. Fans of the short story will likely be pleased, but it’s hardly a prerequisite for enjoying his one.”

1. Sinister – Scott Derrickson’s best horror film, Sinister is an incredibly unsettling experience. His first pairing with Ethan Hawke has a simple premise but expert execution. One of the better little Blumhouse works, it’s hard not to be chilled by this one. A fun story I’ve told before…years ago when I took my then-girlfriend to this film, something about it terrified her so much, she had to follow me home for dinner, as opposed to parting ways for the evening. If that’s not the mark of horror success, I don’t know what is.

Universal

For comparison, this is how I would rank all of Scott Derrickson’s films;

6. Deliver Us From Evil

5. The Day The Earth Stood Still

4. The Exorcism of Emily Rose

3. The Black Phone

2. Doctor Strange

1. Sinister

Stay tuned for another Sunday Scaries installment next week!

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Written by Joey Magidson

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