Ti West’s The House of the Devil was one of the best horror films that I’ve seen in years. Paranormal Activity scared the hell out of me, but it wasn’t filmed in a traditional filmmaking manner. House of the Devil was just an all around well made film in general. I love a good horror film and this one delivers the thrills and suspense that most horror movies lack these days.
The movie is like a slow burn. The first hour of the film just builds the characters, story, and intensity. You are watching a young college student named Samantha going to college during the 1980’s. She is in need of some cash for a new apartment she wants to move into, so she takes a babysitting job on the night of a full lunar eclipse. This life changing babysitting gig turns out to be that last thing she expected. The people that hired her have an alternative motive for Samantha. They want to use her in a satanic ritual in honoring the Devil.
I love the 80’s vintage feel that this movie portrays. It was spot on 80’s perfection, even in the opening and closing credits.
The film is based on the actual events of satanic cults during the 80’s. Satan worshiping was huge back in the day believe it or not. I’ve heard some pretty crazy stories about it. Knowing that this kind of stuff went down in the 80’s for real added to the creepiness factor of the film.
My favorite part of the movie was the slow burn build up I mentioned. Some people might find is slow and boring, but I enjoyed it. The film style and story telling techniques Ti West used reminded me a lot of what Roman Polanski did in his earlier horror films and thrillers, like The Tennant and Rosemary’s Baby. I loved the little details added that would drive your imagination to make you think what is actually going on and how it will all end. There are great sound effects, lingering shots on certain objects, and other things that would helps make your imagination run wild.
The movie also had a good amount of light humor to help ease the tension. They were very inventive with the dialogue and they had fun with it. The most important thing about this movie, is it’s not campy and cheesy at all. It’s a good solid horror film.
The film starred Jocelin Donahue as Samantha and she was great in the film. She definitely proves she has what it takes to carry a movie on her own. Actor Tom Noonan plays the sinister Mr. Ulman, and this guy was so gentle and kind looking that it was freighting, knowing the whole time that he was a crazy Satan worshiper. Noonan was awesome as this character.
The movies weakest point, is when the slow burn set up turns into a raging fire finale. When the movie gets crazy and madness ensues the film editing and style goes overboard. The filmmakers took it a couple notches too far. Had they held back a bit in the end, the movie would have been a perfect horror movie.
Other than that, I loved The House of the Devil! It was a great horror flick and I highly recommend watching it!
The House of the Devil gets a limited release on Halloween weekend, and you can watch it now on Video on Demand, including Xbox Live, and Playstation 3. If you’ve seen the film already tell us what you thought about it!