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 stylish exercise in tension.
Ti West da aquí una gran clase cinematográfica de suspenso. Usando los códigos visuales old school de los 70-80 (16 mm, granulado, zoom en vez de dolly, una cámara clavada en el suelo pero siempre dinámica), un cast pequeño y una mínima banda sonora, ha creado una película con una gran atmósfera.
Sin embargo, en el último acto West no cobra mayores dividendos. Pensé usaría la oportunidad para innovar un poco (quizás utilizar el mismo medium old-school para hacer mas creíble efectos visuales modernos) y acertar un último y contundente golpe. Al contrario, el desenlace impacta muchísimo menos que la construcción previa al momento y se percibe apresurado.
Pero no lo duden, Ti West ha creado una buena película, con personajes interesantes, pocos recursos y una muy inteligente utilización del lenguaje audiovisual.
What a great throwback movie. The tone is perfect for the late 70's or early 80's. I had to double check that this movie was made in 2009.
Much like Paranormal Activity nothing much happens for 90% of this movie and I never found myself bored. The climax is very unbelievable but that doesn't take away from the movie.
This movie shows what a director can do with a simple concept that is executed nearly perfect.
Greta Gerwig should do more horror.
The creeping pace. The creeping camera zooms. The creeping score. Man, that was fucking unnerving.
I think I'm in love with Jocelin Donahue.
I liked the music and the slow build and anticipation for the story to take off but it had many typical horror movie tropes and fallacious continuity and story errors and just stupid stuff. Stylized and shot well, just not anything of note.
Ti West has proven time and time again he's capable of not simply making a film that's a brilliant homage to classic, 1970's horror films, but he's capable of making such a film stand on its own and be a truly remarkable piece of work even if examined outside of the aforementioned context. West's The House of the Devil adheres to the principles that would continue to be upheld through his future with films, which would be emphasizing mounting dread and slowburn suspense rather than slambang action with no pay off or long-term resonance. He crafts The House of the Devil so delicately and intricately, making the house the most interesting character in the film (something one would've assumed mainstream…
Masterful example of building tension and slow burn horror. Quite slow in the beginning, but never boring thanks to good performances and a plethora of awesome early 80s period detail. The massive walkman seemed a little over the top (although probably accurate for 1982), but overall it just felt really well done and evocative of the time. This slow pace led into a sudden shock that was truly frightening and one of the best I've seen. The methodical pace stayed the same, but now everything was tinged with tension and building horror.
Really, really awesome stuff until it unfortunately devolved into a pretty standard horror climax that didn't take advantage of what came before. One of my biggest problems was…
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