Sinister‘s macabre story introduced audiences to director Scott Derrickson’s otherworldly ‘Bughuul’ figure, which has since become a famous movie monster, spawning a sequel to the film that was released in 2015. Besides that though, fans of the movie may think that there’s not much else out there that can hit the same spot as Sinister, but they just need to know where to look.
The best horror movies like Sinister have one thing in common and that is a merciless focus on terrifying the viewer throughout; creating narratives so engrossing that they can’t look away, even if that means that they have to watch through their fingers.
The Empty Man (2020)
Available to purchase on Amazon Prime Video
A movie about a malevolent cult that has itself gained a strong cult following after slipping under the radar when it first released, The Empty Man is a title well worth seeking out for horror fans in need of something original.
Though the titular being is less concrete than an entity like the Bughuul, they’re ominous stalking presence is felt strongly throughout and Sinister fans who loved the mystery element of the film will be captivated by this dark detective story.
The Shining (1980)
Available to stream on HBO Max
There are very few horror movies that can be considered to be as flawless or as frightening as Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of Stephen King’s The Shining. This story of one family’s horrific ordeal in a haunted hotel has inspired countless horror films in the decades since its release, with very of them few being able to live up to the pervading sense of dread that Kubrick created in each and every scene.
Besides the historical value, however, fans of Sinister should consider this film essential viewing for its unrelenting atmosphere.
The Blair Witch Project (1999)
Available to stream on Pluto TV, HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video, Peacock, and Paramount+
This classic found footage movie is still considered to be the epitome of the genre and achieves a great deal through minimalist means.
Following a small film crew as they attempt to document a local legend in the woods surrounding a small town in Maryland, the movie uses improvisational acting and cinematography (with the cameras left in the hands of the actors) to terrifying effect as the audience is forced to imagine the malevolent force that stalks the characters in the dark. Horror fans who found the 8mm footage in Sinister to be terrifying are sure to get a chilling kick out of The Blair Witch Project‘s 16mm shots.
Available to stream on Peacock
Director James Wan is notable for birthing several highly-profitable and widely-loved horror movie franchises, one of which is the ghostly Insidious series which he made with creative collaborator Leigh Whannell.
The first movie in the series blended together haunted house and possession tropes to create something uniquely memorable and the demonic ghouls that terrorize the movie’s unsuspecting family are enough to make any seasoned horror fan leap out of their seat a little. Like Sinister, it’s one of the best jump scare movies out there.
The Conjuring (2013)
Available to stream on HBO Max
Another massive success from James Wan which started an even bigger and more far-reaching horror movie franchise, The Conjuring contains a number of similar elements to Insidious but funnels them through a period setting to a story based on real-life accounts of paranormal goings-on at a family home in Rhode Island.
Full of plenty of classic frights, it was the pedigree of the acting from the ensemble that elevated The Conjuring above being just another ghost or possession movie, and fans of Sinister will appreciate the dramatic pedigree on show as well as its mixture of slow-burning tension and startling scares.
Available to stream on Paramount+
In terms of excellent performances in modern horror movies, there are few that surpass Ari Aster’s feature-length movie debut, Hereditary, particularly in regard to Toni Collette’s lead turn as a bereaved mother struggling with her mental health and her relationship with her son.
Though full of supernatural elements, the movie is more of a nightmarish mood piece but will fully satisfy a Sinister fan’s desire for unforgettably creative demonic kills.
The Autopsy Of Jane Doe (2016)
Available to stream on AMC+
Horror movie fans who enjoyed the steady sense of foreboding brought on by the unraveling of Sinister‘s dark plot will have a lot of fun with André Øvredal’s scary campfire tale about a father and son coroner team who get more than they bargained for when trying to ascertain the cause of death of a strangely-perfect corpse.
Though it’s set mostly in one small location, the story of The Autopsy of Jane Doe feels more rich and detailed than most conventional supernatural horror movies.
The Ring (2002)
Available to stream on Paramount+
Gore Verbinski’s American remake of Hideo Nakata’s iconic J-horror movie is a masterpiece in its own right, extracting the best elements of the original movie and adding the director’s own striking visual flair.
Following a journalist as they attempt to uncover the origins of a kind of modern folk tale about a videotape that kills the viewer 7 days after they watch it, The Ring‘s levels of inexplicable horrifying imagery are off the charts. The disturbing imagery on the cursed tape would fit right in with the Bughuul’s box of horrifying home movies.
Available to stream on Pluto TV, Tubi, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu
Next to The Autopsy of Jane Doe, Mike Flanagan’s classically American gothic tale of a haunted mirror is one of the most minutely scaled horror hits of recent years whilst still telling a fully-fleshed out story packed with well-rounded characters.
Produced, like Sinister, by low-budget horror king Jason Blum, Oculus sticks to the traditions of the genre but, also like Sinister, that just serves to make the story all the more effective.
The Devil’s Candy (2015)
Available to stream on Tubi
A young family gets more than they bargained for when they move into what is–unbeknownst to them–the former home of a serial killer who begins to periodically show up on their doorstep.
Just about as ferociously intense as even the most seasoned horror movie veterans can withstand, Sean Byrne’s visceral thriller has razor-sharp tension and a monstrous villain that’s made all the scarier by how real they feel. Horror movie fans who want to feel the same kind of relentless terror that Sinister goes for should seek this hidden gem out.
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