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…
A horror movie remarkably unique in structure and execution. Ti West hinges on our regular, everyday fears to build up tension slowly and quietly, leading up to one of the most hellish and chaotic climaxes I've seen in a long time. As for the throwback aspect of it, it's not flashy in the slightest and it actually looks and feels as if it were a horror movie made in the 70s or 80s.
Ti West's The House of the Devil is beautifully rendered. This a proper throwback, looking and feeling remarkably like the horror films of the seventies. It doesn't just give you a retro score and some neon like other recent features, but instead evokes the very spirit of retro horror. Never has grainy cinematography looked so good. While it's true that not much happens until the final twenty minutes or so, the film has an irresistibly absorbing atmosphere and that's more than enough for me. However, it all becomes truly heart-stopping when the real horror begins. The House of the Devil was my first experience with director Ti West and this was undeniably impressive.
I don't care what anyone has to say about Ti West, he nailed a perfect golden age horror throwback film. Every single detail screams Halloween, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Black Christmas, etc. I feel like anyone can make a movie about the 70's/80's (durrr funky neon everythingggg!), but to make something that looks like an actual lost relic from the time period takes some care and attention that a lot of modern horror filmmakers don't have. It also seems like most of the grindhouse/throwback style horror films that have come out in the last few years try too hard to mask their inability to capture that feeling with comedy and/or gore, and then they slap a scratchy film filter over the…
The House of the Devil has style. I mean, just look at that film poster alone! Taking it upon himself to write, direct, and edit, Ti West made this film his own. And it definitely shows. It's a great throwback to films of the era, and shows he has great reverence for the genre.
That's about all The House of the Devil has going for it, though. The story is simplistic and the climax feels rushed. And there's very little re-watch value, if any, unfortunately.
It should be illegal to cast a movie with a lead this attractive.
Dentro dessa onda que venera uma chave clássica do gênero deve ser um dos filmes mais bem-sucedidos. Consegue conservar muito bem todo o seu culto a elementos universais, a uma iconografia que beira o caricato, mas tudo dentro de um movimento bem próprio. Parte de uma emulação derivativa mas no fim das contas ritualiza muito bem todo o modelo que reverencia.
Talk about suspense, this movie has got it in spades. In fact, the whole first two-thirds are very tense, thanks to the camera work and the excellently creepy house. I do think the suspenseful part lasted too long, though, and when the finale finally came, it felt a little short.
I did love the nod to 70s and 80s horror, and Greta Gerwig is great!
I had to double take the year this film was made - Yes 2009 - yet it’s more 80’s than any 80’s horror I have ever seen. From the opening credits, it’s grainy style, it’s washed out colours, the soundtrack, even the poster, everything about this film oozes 80’s horror. It isn’t however just a clever gimmick - Ti West’s The House of the Devil does everything right. EVERYTHING.
This is no slasher film. It relies on the classic combination of slow build suspense, creepy sounds and tense silences to great effect. In retrospect, nothing much really happens and it was quite a slow burner but that did not detract from it being a very engaging film.
A college student…
8/10. 90% an outstanding creeper that loses a point for the unsatisfying climax.
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…