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…
Masterful. Like if Tarantino had actually hit on the affectionate pastiche he was going for in Django Unchained.
#Horrorctober 2015 - 5
Spätestens bei der Introduction und den Titles musste ich 2x auf das Erscheinungsjahr schauen, so sehr hat mich der 80ies Look irritiert. Über weite Strecken passiert nicht viel dramatisches und dennoch schafft es "The House of the Devil" eine beklemmende Stimmung zu schaffen. Zwischendurch gibts dann mal die eine oder andere etwas überraschende Gore Einlage, aber insgesamt ist der Film sehr ruhig und fast schon eine Hommage an die Lowbudget Filme der 80er. Auch wenn der Höhepunkt deutlich zu spät kommt, war ich durch die Bank gut unterhalten.
First of all, what an excellent throwback. From the opening credits, the cinematography, the grain, the music, the acting, and the whole Satan thing. I was engaged in this film, and I was patient. This film definitely gets very tense and the sense of dread just continues to ramp up from the moment she steps in the house, but it does ramp up for a long time. And that was fine because whatever it was building toward was going to payoff.
That's where the problem came. Between the seemingly under-noticed appreciation of this film, the poster, and the extended build up, I imagined the climax of this film was going to be simply batshit crazy. I expected some sort…
Horrorthon Day 7 part two
I love a good slow burn, and The House of the Devil has the right amount of building suspense and bloody, tense action to satiate my thirst for good horror.
As a callback (or retread) to the tense slashers of the 70s and 80s, Ti West succeeds in making old material still watchable. The theme of satanism, especially in the time period this is drawing inspiration from, was extremely prevalent in many different forms of media and entertainment. The way in which West brings it back for a contemporary audience, though, is worth recognition. Some might find the first hour boring, but the steady pacing through - raising the tension ever so slightly - really worked for me. I especially loved the editing in the final twenty minutes, as it really accentuated the mindset Samantha is in.
Hooptober 2015 - #5
As soon as the movie started, I knew I was up for something refreshing. The first shot described perfectly the way the movie was going to be : slow and creepy.
Taking influences from horror movies from the late 70's and early 80's, The House of the Devil build a perfect atmosphere of dredd and uneasiness whether it's the moment the protagonist is walking around the university campus or walking up the stairs of the creepy house she babysit at. The tense instrumental tracks help a lot to keep this ambiance through the whole movie. The thing that really stood out to me, tough, was how great the movie is directed and shot. With the help…
An 80s style slow burn that's a bit too slow (it's well over an hour before the shit goes down) and a bit too underwhelming at the end.
No dogs die.
Horror Fest, Day 5
It still does not include the Goldblum but whatever, let's talk about Ti West's The House of the Devil.
Before I bitch about how I disliked the film let's just talk about the positives. First of all even if the era is in the 80s but the film is by far a tribute to 70's horror. From the opening credits alone you can tell that you are walking down memory lane. I think the thing that makes tribute movies or movies that retrospect a past era, great is the way it's edited to make it look like it came out that decade its reflecting.
So, I did appreciate that but now let's analyze the problems. Okay,…
Straight outta 1983
For five years, film critic Scott Tobias compiled "The New Cult Canon" in a regular column for The A.V. Club…
a list that is trying to contain every horror film made that is not lost and is found on the…