Recently, I've become aware that certain films are able to transcend the medium by being completely self-assured in their atmospheres…
The House of the Devil
Talk on the phone. Finish your homework. Watch TV. Die.
In the 1980s, college student Samantha Hughes takes a strange babysitting job that coincides with a full lunar eclipse. She slowly realizes her clients harbor a terrifying secret; they plan to use her in a satanic ritual.
Part of Hoop-Tober
“This one night changes everything for me.”
In the foyer, near the base of the grand staircase, sits a harpsichord.
Not a piano. Not even an organ. A harpsichord.
The house is already impressively creepy. So expansive yet so enclosed, so dark. Stairwells and passageways and so many rooms, all suitable for sneaking and hiding and misdirection. Everything about it is subtly unnerving—a grandparents’ home full of ugly wallpaper and linoleum and bric-a-brac, but with a sense that the grandson might be Damien. It’s reminiscent of the Victorian Bates manse in Psycho, itself inspired Edward Hopper’s The House by the Railroad. It is less a house than an imposition on good mental health. But it’s just a…
Part of Lise and Jonnie’s Horror-o-thon 2014
Well that was a great kick-off to this year’s Horror-o-thon! Not knowing anything going in, I was convinced by the opening scenes that this was a late 70’s / early 80’s haunted house horrorer; that is until the very late 70’s / early 80’s opening credits rolled … oooh, it has Mary Waronov! Wait, what? How old is Gretta Gerwig?
Ti West’s House of the Devil is neither homage nor send-up, it’s something completely sincere. While I’m the farthest thing from a horror genre aficionado, I’ve had enough exposure to the classics from that era to see that this rings true. It reminded me of a small Spanish/Danish comedy from 2003, Torremolino '73…
A person's vision is best portrayed the fewer the hands involved. I think that is what has worked best for Ti West's House of the Devil and in bringing it to life so successfully. Not only writing and directing, the fact he edited the film as well really kept his vision true and in tact.
The tone and pacing, while slow to build is used perfectly, adding an eerie and unsettling calm which eventually snowballs into intense and terrifying chaos.
Aside from Ti West's writing, directing, editing, cinematography, POV shots and all the technical aspects, his attention to detail was out of this world. There have been plenty of fantastic period-piece horror films but to have a throw back film,…
I love second viewings of films so much.
I have had discussions with the occasional person who flat out refuses to revisit films, saying they could never sit through something again when they already know what happens, and I am the guy on the polar opposite end of the spectrum in this regard. Not only can I watch the same work again and again as long as it tickles my entertainment bone (no, not that, get your mind out of the gutter pervert), but I actually typically prefer the second go round over the first.
When I first screen a film, I want to maintain a tight focus on the plot and do my best to follow the story beats…
Ti West's direction + spooky and grainy cinematography + methodical and slowly tightening tension + fantastic performances by Jocelin Donahue and Tom Noonan + brilliant references to the 1980s and satanic chillers + one of the greatest climaxes of all time + an eventual release of primal rage and desolation + a slightly-empty house = one of the finest horror films to be released in the 21st century.
Mrs Ulman, are you okay?
Steeped in artifice and flimsy storytelling, Ti West's "The House of the Devil" seems to have caught the eye of horror fans hungry for a throwback to the heady and feather-haired days of 1980s thrillers. To be sure, the film is such a throwback as its design, pace, and sets all revel in the sensibilities of that past decade. Strip those touches away, however, and the film rates only as a run-of-the-mill horror film, relying too much on generating atmosphere and too little on building a satisfying narrative.
Taking place in an era wear the Fixx could be listened to on foam-padded Walkman headphones, the film revolves around Jocelin Donahue's Samantha, a college co-ed in need of a job. Finding…
I guess I sort of liked this movie, but it got me to realise that Horror must be the most deconstructed genre ever. Has anyone put a mirror to other genres as much as there are self referential horror movies?
A fine horror film, but I kind of enjoyed the slow burn of a buildup quite a bit more than the payoff, which was super unsatisfying and generic.
One of the best horror films made in the 2000's. I love how it was made to look like a eighties movie.
A note outside of campus with the letters Baby $itter Needed is the beginning of a diabolic event during a full lunar eclipse...
It's 80s horror but made in the year of our lord 2009 (shot on 16mm film, which makes it feel even more retro). Ti West's satanic horror movie The House of the Devil is a stylish, creepy slow burner that slowly builds up the tension to the great finale. The House of the Devil is really good and West's best movie.
One of the best horror movies of the last 20 years... ah fuck it, ALL TIME! ♥
Horror films are often victims of their own excess. The House of the Devil avoids most of the pitfalls of the genre, but it might actually have too much patience for my taste. It hold back on its scares so long that it feels as if West is padding the already slim running time. Besides one effective burst of violence at the twenty-five minute mark, it takes about an hour to cash in on any of the dread the filmmakers have built, which is too long considering that the protagonist's predicament has an obvious endpoint. The House of the Devil is a terrifying short that happens to be 95 minutes long.
It's a forgivable sin for something this lovingly crafted…
I regret to say, this film was one big disappointment to me. Which is a shame because i wanted to see it for a long time. And it's finally added to Netflix, so i jump on it!... Only to be less than impressed.
So 'The House Of The Devil' is definitely a film that tries to be an homage to early 80's horror movies, and shares a few filming techniques that are pretty neat. But more often than not, it goes full blown modern horror territory.
The main girl in this film is unbelievably boring. She's always moaning in some form or another and i just found myself not even remotely caring about her. She has no charisma or presence…
This film is so subtle and so fucking creepy. Right from the start you just get that feeling of real fear. It doesn't rely on jumps, or really even on the *scary bits* to be scary. It's always scary. The long, long build up works wonderfully (most of the fun with horror films is the anticipation anyway) and all the guessing and slow unfurling in this film make you feel certain there is just pure evil lurking. Although the text at the start sort of tells you what's going on, what the *scary bit* is isn't really a surprise or a secret, it isn't the gimmick that shocks you because, as I said, THE WHOLE FILM IS SCARY. Like, every…
For five years, film critic Scott Tobias compiled "The New Cult Canon" in a regular column for The A.V. Club…
Friends often ask me to recommend indie horror films on Netflix Instant. (American Netflix, sorry!) Now I can just send…