The House of the Devil
The House of the Devil is a horror/thriller that came out in 2009. I had heard about it and the overall impression I got was people really liked it. It was on my “to watch” list for quite a while, but nearly five years after it’s release I finally sat down and watched it. I consciously stayed away from reviews about it because I just had this feeling it was the type of movie I wanted to see fresh without someone else's opinion one way or the other. I’m very glad I knew nothing more than it was a horror film, because I was able to experience everything the story had to offer as it happened. Rather than half expecting certain things to fall into place which tends to happen when I have prior knowledge about a movie. I find even watching a trailer can at times spoil aspects of the film for me. It’s a bit ironic now that I myself am writing a review of this movie. Why am I going on and on about seeing this movie fresh you might ask? Well, the best way to answer is that I feel many of the great reveals and spooky elements of the movie are better enjoyed due to the pacing this film takes. It’s not a balls-to-the-wall gorefest that hits the gas 20 minutes into the movie as I feel happens with more modern films. This film is a very slow burn, it is quiet and moves at a pace that builds tension and mystery. It’s never boring, but keeps you wondering “what the hell is going on?” Don't worry I'm not going to delve into the entire story and give everything away. I would hate to spoil the film for you.
That slow burn pace is very much in line with horror films of the 70s and 80s that I really enjoy. Director Ti West definitely went for that 70s/80s feel with the whole production, the story, effects, music, camera moves and really the overall vibe. That’s what I loved about this movie so much it feels like a classic movie from that time period that I never got to see. I’m a huge fan of films of that era as this site’s reviews probably illustrate. So Ti West’s idea to really do that type of film and do it so well is a real treat in this modern era.
So as not to spoil the story for those of you that haven’t seen it and are interested in the movie at this point I’ll give you a brief overview of the set-up of the story. The movie opens with struggling college student Samantha looking at an apartment she’d like to move into that from how it sounds would be stretching her pretty far financially, but she is looking to get out of the dorms. The landlady, played by genre favorite Dee Wallace, decides to cut her a bit of a break on down payment, but still is expecting Samantha to be a responsible tenant and get her rent paid on time. Samantha is now in “I need money” mode and looking for avenues to earn some quick cash. She finds an ad on a board outside her dorm for a person looking for babysitter. She calls the number and the speaks with a man by the name of Mr. Ullman, played by Tom Noonan. He initially sets up a time to meet with her, but then doesn’t show up. He later calls her back and says he’s in desperate need of a babysitter and is looking to pay $100 for a few hours of her time.
Samantha’s friend, Megan, has reservations about this job and has a strange feeling about it. Nevertheless she agrees to drive Samantha to Mr. Ullman’s house and then pick her up after the job. Samantha and Megan both meet Mr. Ullman at the house to talk about the babysitting gig. It’s at this point the story starts down it’s creepy and mysterious path, because babysitting a child isn’t exactly what Mr. Ullman has in mind. His ad was a bit of a “white lie”,but still has need of Samantha to stay. It’s here boys and ghouls that I will stop, because I feel everything from here on out would be spoiling the film in a big way.
Are you sold on this movie yet? If you are a fan of 70s/80s horror films I would bet money you will highly enjoy this film. I dare say if it was a true film of that era it would be a classic. There are many elements of the film that call to mind those classics from days past.
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