The House Of The Devil (2009)
Directed by Ti West
Running time: 95 minutes
Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
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.
Last October I watched my first Ti West movie for my Halloween Horror Fest (The Innkeepers – review HERE) and actually quite liked it so I’ve been meaning to check out The House Of The Devil ever since then. Hmm. I’ll say it’s very obvious it’s from the same director. I’m still not sure how I feel about Ti West but, based on the little I’ve seen, he clearly likes to use the same sort of template for his films. I was thinking about checking out his movie The Sacrament soon as well but was expecting it to be another movie where NOTHING happens for the first hour or so and then suddenly all hell breaks loose in the last 20 to 30 minutes (and Cara has just confirmed that this is indeed the case once again in her review of The Sacrament HERE). I like his style for the most part so far but can totally understand why a lot of people hate his movies. Be aware that if you watch The House Of The Devil it’s veeeeeeeery slow until, yes, all hell breaks loose in the final 20 minutes or so. Exactly like The Innkeepers.
I’m struggling to think of what to say about this one and am still not completely sure how I feel about it. There were certain things I loved, like the opening credits in the photo above and the look & mood of the film and, of course, how it’s set in my beloved 1980s. My favorite scene is when the main girl, played by Jocelin Donahue, puts on her walkman and dances around to The Fixx (One Thing Leads To Another! Remember that song?? I’m so old…). Oh yeah – and the house is a pretty cool looking creepy old house as well.
Dee Wallace has a small role, which is cool for us old horror fans. Also, Mary Woronov is in this who I was shocked to realize was the scientist in the underrated Night Of The Comet (which I recently reviewed HERE). Here she is – I can’t say I recognized her:
I also really did like the main girl and thought she had the perfect look for this movie – it felt like West was going for a Margot Kidder/70’s actress type of look which helped to set the “Suspiria” mood, which I think he was also going for. I like and appreciate that as all my favorite horror films are from the 70’s & 80’s but, if I want to watch Suspiria, I’ll just watch that instead of a modern day copy.
This is sounding a bit too negative. I was almost sort of loving this movie, actually, until the end. With The Innkeepers, I was a little bored until the final half hour which I thought was really good and saved the movie. I often complain that horror movies rarely know how to end but I found the ending of The Innkeepers pretty satisfying. However, the opposite is true of The House Of The Devil. I REALLY wanted to love it and things were going well as I was actually thoroughly enjoying that “Ti West thing where nothing happens for the first hour” but then the ending just didn’t quite work for me. This was pretty disappointing as I think I’d be raving about this movie if I’d been happy with the ending. I of course won’t spoil it so can’t go into what I didn’t like (there was only really one specific thing). Let’s just say I wish he’d kept it a little more simple and “classic”. And, although the absolute final scene didn’t bother me, I’m sure a lot of people hated it.
I think what I’m trying to say in a really long-winded way is this: I liked this movie (despite my negative-sounding review) but can totally understand why it’s not for everyone. I doubt anyone will go read my Innkeepers review now but I was much more positive in that one. However, although I think The Innkeepers is more “accessible” and is the one I’d be far more likely to recommend to people without worrying that they’d hate me for recommending it, I actually think The House Of The Devil is the better film of the two. Does that make sense?? That may be why I sound so disappointed. I think this movie had a lot of potential and I’d like to see a Ti West movie I can truly say I loved from start to finish. Maybe someday. This was so close at first…
My Rating: 7/10
It takes a lot for a movie to be so unwatchable that I turn it off after 20 minutes. This is such a film.
Well, it IS an IPC favorite… Lol 😉 Can totally understand any hate for this one even though I liked it. I’d rather watch a horror film actually made in the 80’s instead of just set in the 80’s, though.
I’d rather be a horror film victim than watch anything else by these mumblecore guys.
I’m just here to say, HAPPY HALLOWEEN!”
Oh! HI! I’ve missed you. How have you been? Happy Halloween! 🙂
I loved this movie. It is absolutely styled like a early 1970’s movie and that is part of its charm. From the freeze-frame title in the beginning of the film, to the act of getting the viewer fully immersed into the main character before anything happens, it is a 1970’s film. You think about The Exorcist, little happens until the last half hour and the rest of the time we are getting immersed into Ellen Burstyn’s character and plight. HotD was a little more grindhouse style but still effective in my book.(spoilers ahead) There are little clues along the way that a sharp eye can catch – I first noticed there were no family pictures up in the home. Secondly, the man of the house could hardly walk, why did he have a pool table…and there were other things that made me suspicious before they were revealed. I actually liked that subtle discovery period.
Thanks for the comment! 🙂 It’s funny how people are so divided on this one. I just really liked the atmosphere. Overall, I just think it’s better than all the current horror movies that don’t develop the characters at ALL and just kill them off right from the start. I don’t want that – I do want to get to know the people first. And I’ll always be a sucker for 70’s-style horror. 🙂
Ironically, I don’t like The InnKeeper that much. The things that worked so well in “House…” didn’t have the same effect on me in the other movie.
Yeahhhh this one didn’t do it for me. Lol. I think it’s safe to say Ti West is not my cup of tea. I liked The Innkeepers much more than this, but the whole “hour of nothing” thing is not my favorite approach. But an excellent review here, lady! I’m glad you had fun with this one!
Thank you! And… You’re welcome! 🙂 You know, I can totally understand WHY people wouldn’t like this kind of thing. Even though I did. 🙂
Oh! And thank you for the shoutout! You are too sweet! 🙂
Never watched this one because it’s a horror movie made in recent years so it has that against it already.
Lol. I understand that feeling. I love 70’s and 80’s horror – the majority of modern horror films suck. This one wasn’t too bad but it’s definitely not for everyone. I really did love The Babadook, though. Have you seen that?
I have not seen that.
You should give that one a try 🙂
Nice work Mutey. Ti West sounds like he has a reputation for letting people down. Lol. I’m not sure if I’d dig his stuff so much myself. . . What of his I’ve seen, I’m not actually sure. . . .
Yeah… People seem to love him or hate him. Eric loves him. I don’t know if you WILL have seen anything of his – he’s definitely not mainstream. Really just a horror guy. I do like this one in a weird sort of way, though. 🙂
Not bad to read and think of this film in a different way. Each point does make sense and it’s understandable how the first hour of the film can bore you more than you’d like. I’m just glad to see someone els has seen this film and can more or less appreciate what was done with it. Now, just to prove your doubt wrong, I shall go over and read the post for “The Innkeepers”.!
Yeah – I’m still not sure how I feel about these Ti West films but can appreciate what he’s trying to do with them. I’ll give The Sacrament a try at some point but am expecting to be a bit bored for at least an hour… 😉
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