Movie Name: The House of the Devil
Release Date(s): October 30, 2009
MPAA Rating: R
Samantha Hughes (Jocelin Donahue) has to get away from her roommate. When she finds the perfect apartment, she needs to get the money to pay for it quick. Against the advice of her friend Megan (Greta Gerwig), Samantha agrees to be a babysitter on the night of the big lunar eclipse. The job turns sideways immediately when Samantha learns that Mr. and Mrs. Ulman (Tom Noonan and Mary Woronov) actually have hired her to watch over their aging grandmother instead of a child, but the promise of big payday means she will have what she needs to cover the rent…but the Ulmans have plans for Samantha.
Written and directed by Ti West, The House of the Devil is a slow-burn horror film. The movie was released to positive reviews.
The House of the Devil is a throwback type movie. It is set in the ’80s and follows a horror style of the ’70s and ’80s. The movie intrigued me for that reason and Ti West himself also intrigues me as a director…he is so close to being a really good horror director, but he continues to just slightly miss the mark.
The story moves very slow. It is an uncomfortable movie because you can see the main character making mistakes that could easily have been corrected, but they continue down a path that you know is going to lead to destruction…I sometimes find that type of movie frustrating more than scary depending on how it is done.
The cast is so-so. Jocelin Donahue isn’t a bad lead in that she seems pretty normal, but her friend played by Greta Gerwig feels like she fell out of a Joss Whedon series. I like the creepiness of Tom Noonan but wished he had been a more of a factor in the plot. The movie needed a more defined “villain” in general to help sculpt the plot.
Visually the movie did do a lot of stuff right. It is a throwback to older horror movies with credits over the film and a style reminiscent of late ’70s, or early ’80s horror (generally low budget). I like the throwback nature.
The House of the Devil almost gets it right. I find that Ti West’s films often “almost” get it right. He is a horror director that obviously likes the craft and I think could make a great horror film someday if he gets the balance right. The House of the Devil isn’t this horror film, but it is entertaining.
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