Today I am back with another directorial ranking! This time, we are tackling the works of Scott Derrickson. In particular, his horror movies. I’ve done this already for Rob Zombie, James Wan, Baz Luhrmann and M. Night Shyamalan. Click on their names to check them out. As usual, I am only listing the films he directed and are under the horror/thriller genre. Therefore, I won’t be mentioning The Day the Earth Stood Still and Doctor Strange. Scott has such a unique style of filmmaking. I cannot wait to see what he does next. Without further ado, let’s get into it!
1.) The Black Phone
In first place, we have The Black Phone. This movie was adapted from the short story by Joe Hill. You can read my dedicated spoiler-free review here. It follows Finney Shaw, a shy but clever teenage boy, who is held in a soundproof basement by a sadistic, masked killer called The Grabber. I have to mention Ethan Hawke’s sensational performance. He was unlike any villain I had seen before. It felt like he was fighting a war within himself. Similar to IT, this movie is set in the past (the 70’s) and focuses on missing children that were taken by a monster holding balloons. Some people speculate that Pennywise uses red balloons to entice children, whilst The Grabber uses black to show his contempt for them. As IT is my favourite horror novel and film, I was all for these parallels. The fact that it won best horror movie at the 2023 Fangoria Chainsaw Awards solidifies why it’s Scott’s finest work.
In second place, we have Sinister, which once again, stars Ethan Hawke. You will notice James Ransone (Eddie from IT Part 2) is also in this film and The Black Phone. Scott definitely has an affinity for certain actors. FYI, he did not direct the sequel. It follows a struggling true-crime writer, whose discovery of videos depicting grisly murders in his new house puts his family in danger. If that doesn’t sell you, the paranormal entity – Bagul – is a terrifying ancient Babylonian pagan deity who consumes the souls of children. It’s a dark and intense story with plenty of disturbing moments for your nerves (re: lawn mower scene). It put Scott on the map and Sinister is now considered one of the scariest films in horror history.
3.) The Exorcism of Emily Rose
In third place, we have The Exorcism of Emily Rose. I know some people refuse to watch this film because it is based on real-life events but please note, the true story is actually really sad, not scary. It follows Reverend Moore, a priest on trial for performing an exorcism on a young girl named Emily Rose (played by the fabulous Jennifer Carpenter), who died in the process. It is revealed along the way that she was actually suffering from epilepsy and DID – instead of demonic possession – and should have received proper medical care. In the 1950s, schizophrenia and fits weren’t as easily diagnosed as they would be today. Therefore, the symptoms would typically be attributed to satanic influences. We jump back and forth between the court case, the events of the past and the lead up to the fatal exorcism. It’s a truly brilliant movie.
4.) Deliver Us From Evil
In fourth place, we have Deliver Us From Evil, which is currently streaming on Netflix. The film claims to be based on a 2001 non-fiction book entitled Beware the Night, however, the plot is actually an original piece written by director Derrickson. How cool is that? It follows New York police officer, Ralph Sarchie (played by Eric Bana), who begins investigating a series of disturbing and inexplicable crimes. He joins forces with an unconventional priest (played by Edgar Ramirez), schooled in the rituals of exorcism, to combat the frightening and demonic possessions that are terrorizing their city. I honestly didn’t mind this movie. It wasn’t particularly original or groundbreaking, but it kept me interested. I felt like if it had been adapted into a mini-series, it would have been received far better than as a feature length film.
5.) Hellraiser: Inferno
In last place, we have Hellraiser: Inferno, which is the seventh installment in the franchise. It’s also the only one Scott stepped up to direct. It follows a corrupt cop who discovers the infamous Puzzle Box; thereby unleashing his own personal hell. The movie ran for way too long, the protagonist was extremely unlikable, and the Cenobites were barely featured. I enjoyed the time-loop style ending but other than that, it was a flop. Sorry! Not much to say here.
Thank you so much for reading! How would you rank Scott’s films? I look forward to hearing your opinions.
Peace & Love xoxo