Scott Derrickson

Blue Exorcist

Exorcism is a bizarre and unsettling thing. Filmmaker Scott Derrickson certainly understands that, which is why he keeps making movies about demonic possession. His newest, Deliver Us from Evil, isn’t exactly getting the best critical reception. Granted, neither did The Exorcism of Emily Rose and that movie remains a hoot to re-watch. Regardless of quality, exorcism and Catholic-inflected horror has its own inherent draw. The images are often compelling by their very nature, particularly if they’re composed well. This isn’t a cultural subgenre simply because The Exorcist made such an impression on its own back in 1973, though that obviously helped. With all of that said, you may not want to risk Deliver Us from Evil even if you are, like me, something of a nut for profane and terrifying Catholic imagery. I have an alternative for you. Stay home and watch some Blue Exorcist, a Japanese animated series currently available to stream for free on Hulu in its entirety. What’s the appeal? Exorcism isn’t actually owned by Western European Christianity. As the inimitable Shohreh Aghdashloo testified in The Exorcism of Emily Rose, demonic possession is a thoroughly international phenomenon. Blue Exorcist is based on a manga of the same title by Kazue Kato, who could easily have built something entirely out of East Asian mythology. Instead, he created a fascinating blend of different cultural currents. In adapting the books into an animated series, director Tensai Okamura and the animators at A-1 Pictures have continued that blend. It is still very much inspired by the Catholic horror films of Hollywood and its principal exorcists are at least […]

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Screen Gems

Any film centered on demonology has an inherent responsibility for success: to make you, the jaded viewer, believe… or at least, to convince you to suspend your disbelief for just a few hours. Whether or not the film’s protagonist(s) are able to do so or not is dependent. In many, like director Scott Derrickson‘s own The Exorcism of Emily Rose, our main character is convinced of the Satanism at hand, desperately trying to get others to listen, while in others, like The Last Exorcism, our lead is one of the last to be convinced of the Devil’s works. Derrickson’s latest, Deliver Us From Evil, is one of the latter tales, in which our hero is slowly pushed to believe, bringing the audience along with him. Ralph Sarchie (played here by Eric Bana) in real-life is a retired NYPD detective, and it’s his memoir upon which this film is based. Bana’s Sarchie strides through his cases, forcefully and professionally, though the grim realities of mankind’s capabilities begin to take a draining and stressful toll on him. Luckily, his cop partner and comic-relief machine, Butler (Joel McHale), keeps him balanced. Sarchie’s neglecting his family life, wife Olivia Munn and daughter, thanks to an overbearing schedule at his poisonous job – and that’s before the demon stuff starts.

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Scott Derrickson making The Day the Earth Stood Still

While Marvel is still busy trying to find someone to make Ant-Man, they’re not wasting any time moving full-force forward on their next venture, Dr. Strange. Although talks are still early, Variety has confirmed that Scott Derrickson, director of many a horror great (plus the remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still), will be the man to bring the next Marvel character to life. Stephen Strange is one of the odder Marvel entities, a former neurosurgeon (yeah, that title isn’t just for show) who became Sorcerer Supreme, protector of Earth against all things mystical and magical and fantastically evil. Have you seen his cape? You don’t get to wear something that grandiose just because you feel like it. It’s earned. The character first appeared in Marvel’s “Strange Tales” alongside the Human Torch in 1963, then he began his grand tour of becoming every college student’s favorite comic book character — nobody with a substantial amount of time on their hands and access to a few or maybe a lot of potent drugs in the 1960s was going to pass up reading about the adventures of a whimsical, cape-wearing sorcerer who leaps through surreal landscapes and surrounds himself in psychedelic visuals rife with Egyptian and Sumerian mythology. Like any Marvel property, the seeds for this one have long been planted. His place in line was asserted years ago as part of their mysterious, all-knowing, multi-phased plan for taking over the world mapping out their universe on film and television. It was just a matter of time before he officially showed up on […]

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Eric Bana in DELIVER US FROM EVIL

With horror movies hitting theaters left and right, it’s often hard to tell new releases apart. After all, it’s easy to stick with a tried and true formula if it’s guaranteed to get the maximum amount of scares and screams. Take some nice, normal people, for example, and have them get plagued by a demon or a malevolent poltergeist. It’s been working for the last 30 or so years, hasn’t it? Have their plight be viewed through the grainy green haze of found footage and there’s an even bigger chance that it’s going to be a hit. Or stick that nice family in an even worse situation — maybe it’s some facet of the house itself that’s turning on them, like a cursed mirror or family heirloom. It’s the “call is coming from inside the house” of ghosts. While these methods of spookiness are effective and often masterful, they’re also becoming another thing — expected. There can only be so many Paranormal Activity sequels before Paranormal Activity: Maybe We Should Just Move makes it into the mix. That’s why the trailer for Deliver Us From Evil, the new horror from Scott Derrickson (Sinister, The Exorcism of Emily Rose) looks so refreshing. While Derrickson is guilty of a few genre sins in his last couple films — that nice family plagued by demons, getting a pretty Catholic girl mixed up with Satan — Evil appears to be unlike what the genre’s been churning out for the last few years. Check out […]

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Sinister

Scott Derrickson, the writer/director behind The Exorcism of Emily Rose and Sinister, joins us this week to explain how to scare the hell out of someone at the cinema. Plus, FSR head-honcho-in-chief Neil Miller shares what movie prop he desperately wants to own, and we hear some of your responses. You should follow Scott Derrickson (@scottderrickson), Neil Miller (@rejects), the show (@brokenprojector), Geoff (@drgmlatulippe) and Scott (@scottmbeggs) on Twitter for more on a daily basis. And, as always, if you like the show (or hate it with seething fervor), please help us out with a review. Download Episode #39 Directly Or subscribe Through iTunes

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derrickson

Brian De Palma’s classic, and best film, Blow Out, isn’t the most obvious inspiration for co-writer/director Scott Derrickson‘s Sinister. They’re in different genres all together, but both focus on two characters dealing with failure who find themselves reduced to sitting alone in a room trying to figure out a plot that is bigger than they ever would’ve imagined. What is obvious about Sinister is its level of accessibility. The movie is never extreme with its scares, never relies on cringe-inducing carnage, and is straight-forward in its plotting, all of which probably helped make it a box-office success late last year. Speaking with Derrickson via email for the film’s Blu-ray release, that simplicity is entirely what he aimed for — making a horror movie for everyone. Here’s what else Derrickson had to say about creating the look of Sinister with the Alexa camera, Blow Out and working with child actors: 

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Deus Ex Human Revolution

The “Deus Ex” video game series has been a big deal for over a decade. In 2011, Eidos Montreal and Square Enix took a page from the movie playbook and made the third entry in the franchise, “Deus Ex: Human Revolution,” a prequel. The cyberpunk game set in 2027 has all the makings of a great sci-fi thriller: mysterious groups with sinister motivations, a program that augments humans into cyborgs, and a ton of ambient noise. Because of that easy translation and its popularity, it’s unsurprising that CBS Films wants to turn it into a movie. According to Deadline Hollywood, they’ve hired writer/director Scott Derrickson to take on the project. He’ll direct as well as write the script with Sinister writing partner C. Robert Cargill (who, full disclosure time, I know personally). It’s a move that will take Derrickson out of the horror world after successes with Emily Rose and the recent Ethan Hawke-led release, pushing him in a different direction that might still hold some of the same tonal elements.

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George Clooney

What is Casting Couch? The day’s casting news, all in one place, because you’re a very busy person. At this point we don’t know anything concrete about the secret project Brad Bird is directing over at Disney. It’s largely being developed under the code name 1952, but for a minute it was being called Tesla. It’s rumored to be a science fiction film involving aliens, but in what regard isn’t clear. It’s said that Disney is thinking of it as a major tentpole release, but why it would have such mass appeal is being kept under wraps. All we have is rumors. And the latest rumor for the pile, courtesy of Variety, is that The Facts of Life star George Clooney is currently negotiating to star. If this proves to be true and Bird lands Clooney, that would be a pretty big step toward making this the blockbuster sort of feature that Disney wants it to be. And, generally, what Disney wants, Disney gets.

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Stephen King

Stephen King seems to be having almost as good of a year as Kevin Costner when it comes to high profile news. The teaser for the big screen re-adaptation of his first novel, Carrie, just recently hit the web, and now word has come that the only unadapted tale in King’s four story collection, Different Seasons, is finally being turned into a film. The book already spawned two modern classics with Stand By Me and The Shawshank Redemption as well as Bryan Singer’s dark but less memorable drama Apt Pupil. The remaining tale, “The Breathing Method“, is a smaller story than any of those and readers would be hard pressed to see the cinematic angle within it. Per Deadline, that hasn’t deterred director Scott Derrickson. Fresh off of his success with the Ethan Hawke-starring horror film Sinister, Derrickson has begun development on a film adaptation of the story. There’s no script as of yet, but it will be interesting to see how it gets turned into a proper film.

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Sinister

Editor’s note: This review has previously appeared as part of our SXSW 2012 and Fantastic Fest coverage, but since it’s so well-written and increasingly relevant thanks to Sinister’s opening this week, it’s back! In recent years the found footage style of horror has been done, pardon me, to death. Whole films have been cobbled together with bits of the fake stuff in service to pretend storylines, delivered to their audiences in tidy packages that often place style over substance. In Scott Derrickson‘s Sinister (this year’s SXSW “secret” screening), the found footage conceit is instead used as a source of information and scares, a clever little bit of storytelling that delivers the creeps with ease. Derrickson’s film (co-written with C. Robert Cargill) centers on Ethan Hawke as a true crime writer who has stumbled on his biggest gig yet – penning a book about the mysterious deaths of four family members, hung from a tree in their own backyard in a ritualistic manner. Not only is the perpetrator of the crime still at large, but a fifth member of the family (the youngest girl) who disappeared after the crime is still missing. Hawke’s Ellison routinely moves his family to new towns that have been struck by some sort of tragedy, tragedies that Ellison investigates and writes about to some apparent acclaim. But it’s been years since Ellison had a hit, and it’s imperative that Ellison’s next book is one, just for simple financial reasons.

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Cloud Atlas releases this month

This September wasn’t a bad way to get out of a summer slump. If any of you were disappointed by this past summer’s films, last month should have picked up your spirits. You were either in awe or disappointment over Paul Thomas Anderon‘s The Master, but whatever camp you fall into, at least you more than likely had thoughts about it. Rian Johnson‘s Looper completely lived up to the hype, wonky time travel logic and all. And we got Dredd 3D and End of Watch, two B-movies which exceeded expectations. Not a bad way to start a new season. There are plenty of offerings for every taste this October including one with a bug-eyed, jacked up, and horrifying Matthew Fox who apparently will be taken down by Tyler Perry. Keep reading for a glimpse at seven other movies you should run and skip to the theaters for.

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Sinister

Mark our words, Sinister is going to scare you. It doesn’t matter if you’re a hard-bitten horror freak or a screamer who watches scary films with your hands over your eyes, this thing is going to get you. Not sure about that? Well, here’s a red band trailer for you. Now, really, can someone please hold me? While we can recommend the trailer to those who want to get a real sense of the atmosphere and tone of the film, it does feature a number of scenes that could be considered spoilers (and a number of scenes that are part of some of the film’s most eye-poppingly scary moments). While most horror films certainly benefit from being viewed fresh, Sinister in particular works tremendously well if you take it in without any preconceptions (and without any knowledge of some of the truly disturbing stuff within it). Having seen it as a Secret Screening during this year’s SXSW, I got to watch it with absolutely no expectations, and it completely terrified me. Brave enough? Watch the new red band trailer for Sinister after the break.

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Scott Derrickson

Not only is it the title of Scott Derrickson‘s next project, Beware the Night is just good advice. It’s scary out there, what with all the werewolves and ghosts and whatnot terrorizing the streets when the sun goes down. According to The Wrap, Derrickson will be delivering this public service announcement in the form of a supernatural story where an NYC policeman investigates demons and other things of a terrifying nature. That’s certainly a healthy step for a writer/director with a ton of momentum. After emerging in the horror world in 2000, Derrickson really made a mark with The Exorcism of Emily Rose, took a big budget shot with the Day the Earth Stood Still remake, but has found better success in the low budget world – particularly with the forthcoming buzz-earning Sinister and as the writer of the Atom Egoyan project Devil’s Knot. On a more basic level, this project just sounds fun. The logline feels a bit like what R.I.P.D. could be like with a real-life cop and less comedy. At the very least it’s great to see a fresh horror voice emerge and for more horror to find its way onto the big screen, especially when it’s so educational.

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Ethan Hawke in Sinister

If you’re looking forward to Scott Derrickson‘s Sinister, then you may want to get in on this chance to catch his restrained horror film sooner rather than later. The movie had its “surprise” premiere at SXSW this year and, after receiving some positive buzz there, Summit Entertainment is continuing to show promise in the project. Today the studio has launched “See Sinister First,” offering audiences the opportunity to attend an early screening of the film. You can join a screening which is already live or even request a showing for your hometown, and, for the latter option, use Tugg. The chance to make a screening close by you happen only lasts a week, so move fast. So far there are only showings scheduled in California, Texas, Florida, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and one in Washington D.C. that Film School Rejects happens to be co-hosting. The screenings that reach full attendance will receive a collectible poster for Sinister, as well as possible Q & A from the filmmakers. All in all, a pretty snazzy deal.

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One of the worst kept secrets at SXSW this year was the “surprise” screening of director Scott Derrickson‘s Sinister, thanks to The Hollywood Reporter leaking the news before the screening. However, the movie itself still managed to deliver with some surprises. For one, this isn’t a found-footage movie, but, as Kate Erbland describes it in her positive review, “the found footage conceit is instead used as a source of information and scares, a clever little bit of storytelling that delivers the creeps with ease.” That’s a suitable way of describing Sinister. The movie has its scares, but many of them only hit you after the credits roll. This first trailer does almost too good a job of selling Derrickson’s restrained horror story, considering it gives away a handful of Sinister‘s finest moments. If you want to go into Sinister unspoiled, stop watching this at the 1:15 mark. Check out the trailer below.

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The West Memphis Three trials are infamous, not just for the brutality of the crime that spawned them, but also for the controversy surrounding the verdict. The case involved the triple homicide of three 8-year-old boys and the conviction of three teenagers, who were thought to be responsible for the crime. After the three were imprisoned, however, doubts began to grow about their guilt, eventually leading to their release from prison on August 19th of this year, 17 years after their conviction. The entirety of the trials, convictions, imprisonments, and further investigations into the murders that eventually led to the suspects’ releases were already well-chronicled in the Paradise Lost trilogy of documentaries done by Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky, but now it seems that since the whole ordeal has come to an end, Hollywood is going to take a crack at dramatizing the story. To that end, screenwriters Scott Derrickson and Paul Boardman (The Exorcism of Emily Rose) have been adapting a screenplay from a book about the murders, Devil’s Knot: The True Story of the West Memphis Three, which was written by Mara Leveritt. That’s a lot of names involved with this project already, but let’s add one more to the pile. Derrickson and Boardman’s script is going to be directed by Atom Egoyan (Chloe), who has worked on the latest draft of the script with Boardman. The newest news about the film is that Egoyan and company have signed Reese Witherspoon to play a featured role. She’ll be […]

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Weekends are for relaxing. My favorite weekend task is usually laundry, followed by large stretches of movie watching, football games and sleeping in. This weekend I did something a little different — it was all sleeping in combined with tracking down movie news for this here column. Because I know that there’s nothing you need more when your weekend is over. So come and get it. Get you some Movie News After Dark.

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Scott Derrickson

Interviews done via email are usually not ideal. Usually, you don’t end up with the most inspired answers. Director Scott Derrickson, on the other hand, completely contradicts that theory.

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wb-hyperion

Just last month Scott Derrickson’s remake of The Day The Earth Stood Still actually made the box-office stand still and grossed a mere $80 million. That’s fantastic bank for a small film about a quirky, pregnant teenager or an Indian teenager winning millions on a game show, but for a high profile sci-fi remake with big name stars it only barely covers the production costs.

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Director Scott Derrickson’s remake of the 1951 science fiction classic, the latest in the long line of shiny, CG-heavy remakes, might be attractive at first, but in the end it reveals itself to be less than worthy of its name.

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