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…
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…
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?
Personal feat of strength in fighting the urge to swap in Last Action Hero instead of this garbage when I saw Tom Noonan. Dunno how you make Tom Noonan boring but this movie sure is special.
How did I miss this little gem in 2009!?
The House of the Devil is a stunning example of build up, build up build up and suspense is just as, if not more important than the reveal.
Written, Directed and edited by Ti West, The House of the Devil is shot to look like a good ol' 70's-early 80's horror flick, and it almost brought a tear to my eye. Not only the shots and tone, but the character interaction, and especially the dialogue, is so vintage horror that it feels like a trip back in time.
Talk about an instant classic!
Joselcin Donahue is a total babe as Samantha, a young adult just trying to get by, and does…
Great homage to seventies/eighties Satanic cult horror, right down to the ambiguous ending, but it doesn't really add anything new to the horror sub genre. I love "slow burn" horror and West does a great job recreating it, but why will I watch this instead of something that was actually filmed in the seventies? I'm not criticizing it necessarily; I just think he could have gone someplace new and really blown us away.
Another mediocre Ti West horror film.... God damn it
The House of the Devil (2009) is actually kind of cool. It's made to look like an old 70's/80's low budget horror film like Cannibal Holocaust (1980) or Black Christmas (1974). The plots okay, acting fine too but where the film actually shines is in it's ability to build tension. The film very successfully builds you up to it's climax and keeps you on the edge of your seat. Basically, if you enjoy feeling like you are about to die, you'll enjoy this.
Other then that this film is nothing special. Check it out if you're bored I guess.... or if you're a Ti West fan for some reason?
Despite having been released only a few years ago, Ti West’s House of the Devil looks like it’s straight out of the 70s. With its grainy camera cinematography and vintage bellbottoms, the film feels like a perfect throwback to the early days of experimental horror, and it does not disappoint. We follow a young college student, Samantha, as she takes a babysitting job late at night. As the film progresses, Samantha learns the job is not at all what she expected, but hesitantly agrees due to her financial needs. House of the Devil is a slow-burn film, so rather than hitting the ground running, it builds in suspense until its climactically horrific finale—and it is truly horrific.
So while I wasn't very impressed with the film as a whole, I am very impressed in one particular aspect. This movie succeeds in being more than a horror movie that recalls the genre in the 80s. The way it is shot and presented is so true to that era that it feels like it may have been created in that time period, went mysteriously missing, and recently resurfaced in 2009.
Good job Ti West.
i didn't like this. i didn't think it was good. i thought it was very boring and the writing was lazy. i thought the acting was ok, and the story could have been great, but the execution was extremely poor. it came off as a high school stage play written by edgy kids instead of something scary or genuinely creepy. and geeze, what a god awful ending. i've only seen two ti west movies, this and the innkeepers, but that's two strikes so far.
Beautifully constructed, final 20 are still absolutely terrifying - holds up.
This movie could have and should have been good. It's too bad it took nearly an hour into the film for anything remotely interesting to happen. A play on 80's slasher flicks with a satanic twist? A damn shame.
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