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 ended up seeing this movie during it's far too brief visit to cinemas in 2009. Lucky for me.
This is my favorite Ti West movie so far. The film is simultaneously an homage and a parody of the late 70's / early 80's "Babysitter In Jeopardy" Horror movies. The plot of the movie also plays with the urban myths that were so popular at that time.
Most importantly, Ti West is smart enough to modulate his humor so that the movie actually becomes a surprisingly scary.
Jocelin Donahue is excellently cast as the innocent babysitter. Greta Gerwig brings her unique presence and skill as the sitter's "naughty" best friend. And, A. J. Bowen also makes an effectively shocking appearance.…
This is a very good horror film. An underwhelming ending keeps it from greatness.
So yeah, this is basically Ti West's 1978 horror movie, produced and distributed in the year 2009. Behind the throwback is a remarkable demonstration of terror in silence. There's no doubt from frame one that "The House of the Devil" will leave you shocked. It's eerie as hell and the horror is all under your nose... but it's hiding. Invisible.
Every carefully chosen shot and off-putting camera angle aid the film's crippling tension. Following suit, the most minute things, even a smile, seem like a cover-up. Wait. Wait. Wait some more. Bam.
Ti West's best film thus far. Great tension throughout and a fantastic ending make this a future horror classic. Along with an aesthetic that not only feels genuine to the horror films of the 80's it also provides a great leap in quality for the film. If this was shot on digital it just wouldn't feel the same.
Le tenia fe y me termino desilucionando. Me parecio tibia. Cuando parece que algo va a ocurrir no pasa nada. Es una pelicula que le sobran entre 15-20 minutos. Otro ejemplo de que el genero de terror sigue dormidisimo.
I saw this a while back, but I never got around to reviewing it. It's an odd one really, but in a good way.
House Of The Devil has been made to look like it's an older classic horror movie, even to the point where it was given a limited release on videotape. I'd have said that the style looked like it came from the 70s, but it's more likely mimicking the style of movies during the 80s (which would fit with the whole "video nasty" scandal). At the beginning we are told about the satanism scare (also during the 80s) where people were convinced that children were being ritually abused by Satan worshippers. I think commenting further on why…
A nice lil nugget
Esta pelicula me hizo confiar en el genero otra vez. Veanla.
I was 100% sold on it starting with the first shot, and then it keeps getting better and better. I couldn't look away. This movie has got some killer tension buildups. The score is subtle but compelling, and the "aged" film becomes something your hardly notice, but never stop appreciating. How did it take me so long to see it?!
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…