The House Of The Devil (2009) Review For Devil Week At The IPC

I’m re-posting my below review of Ti West’s The House Of The Devil for Devil Week at Isaacs Picture Conclusions. You can view all the participating reviews HERE. 🙂

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The House Of The Devil (2009)

Directed by Ti West

Starring: Jocelin Donahue, Tom Noonan, Mary Woronov, Greta Gerwig, Lena Dunham, Dee Wallace

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.

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My Opinion:

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.

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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.

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Summary:

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

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The House Of The Devil (2009) Review

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The House Of The Devil (2009)

Directed by Ti West

Starring:
Jocelin Donahue
Tom Noonan
Mary Woronov
Greta Gerwig
Lena Dunham
Dee Wallace

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.

IMG_7252.JPG

My Opinion:

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.

IMG_7254.JPG

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.

IMG_7255.JPG

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:

IMG_7251.JPG

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.

IMG_7250.JPG

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.

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Summary:

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

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CPD Classics: Night Of The Comet (1984) Review

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Night Of The Comet (1984)

Directed by Thom Eberhardt

Starring:
Catherine Mary Stewart
Kelli Maroney
Robert Beltran
Sharon Farrell
Mary Woronov
Geoffrey Lewis
Peter Fox
John Achorn
Michael Bowen

Running time: 95 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
A comet wipes out most of life on Earth, leaving two Valley Girls to fight the evil types who survive.

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First of all, I know I promised “Zombie Fridays” through October but I’ve had to change my schedule slightly so may not manage that. I’ll try. Night Of The Comet is KIND OF a zombie movie! Second of all, I should point out that CPD Classics are simply some of my all-time favorite movies or movies I just feel deserve more attention. Not all of them will necessarily be “good” but they’re all special to me (like Hardware!). Night Of The Comet won’t be for everyone but I grew up with it and it’ll always make me think of my early teens and make me feel all nostalgic.

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Why It’s A CPD Classic:

Night Of The Comet is part of the post-apocalyptic genre that I adore. I did a list of My Top Ten Post-Apocalyptic Movies HERE and gave this an honorable mention. I think that’s back when I wanted you all to take me seriously but, if I’m honest, this would be in my Top Ten. This is certainly one of the movies most responsible for my fascination with this genre.

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So, as the above plot synopsis says, a comet wipes out pretty much everyone on Earth besides the two sisters in this film and a small group of scientists who were the only ones smart enough to worry about the comet and took shelter. Oh, and it also turned some people with limited exposure to the comet into “zombies”. See? Zombies! (Don’t go expecting a full-on zombie movie, though – there are only a few of them!)

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There truly aren’t many survivors in this movie and I was always quite fascinated with how desolate it is (think Will Smith in I Am Legend or Cillian Murphy in 28 Days Later). These two girls are left roaming around these silent big city streets and there’s not a soul in sight (except for a couple of those zombies). They first go to this great massively 80’s-looking radio station as they figure there may be survivors there since the station is still on the air. Then, and this is my FAVORITE bit, they realize they can go to THE MALL and take whatever they want since everyone is dead! So we get this great 80’s montage where the sisters, seemingly not too terribly bothered about the planet being wiped out, go on a fun little shopping spree and try on loads of clothes. I LOVE IT. Now, I’ve never been a girly girl but I first saw this when I was 12 or 13 and I think a small part of me wished for a similar scenario in real life so I, too, could go on a post-apocalyptic shopping spree. Is that fucked up?? Lol. Screw that shopping spree in Pretty Woman (where Julia Roberts shows those snobby bitches that she’s not just a slut, she’s a slut with MONEY!). Night Of The Comet has THE best cinematic girly shopping spree.

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Now, onto the characters… The little sister is played by Kelli Maroney and, when I used to watch this all the time, I found her character a little annoying. I actually did re-watch this for the first time in years the other day and liked her much more. She’s just very “young” and she’s meant to be the less mature one who kind of needs to be taken care of by her older sister. It’s quite cute how the only thing she cares about with everyone dead is the fact that she may never have another boyfriend plus I have a soft spot for her as she was also in Fast Times At Ridgemont High and the awesomely bad (but I love it anyway) Chopping Mall.

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Probably the MAIN reason I liked Night Of The Comet so much, however, was because of the older sister (played by the lovely Catherine Mary Stewart). She’s COOL. There are a few (mostly obscure) actresses I wanted to “be” as a young teen. Regulars here will already know how much I loved Elisabeth Shue in Adventures In Babysitting. I also had a thing for Meredith Salenger (most her movies were crap but I wanted to look like her) and Tammy Lauren (a prize to the first person who can name something she’s been in without looking her up! she’s going to be in another review of mine this month). Then there was Catherine Mary Stewart in THIS. First of all, she works at a movie theater which I thought was pretty cool. She’s wearing this dumb uniform at the beginning but manages to look awesome in it. She’s also screwing the projectionist, which is super cool (yeah – I think it would kick ass to make out in that little room while a movie is playing). Hell, it’s what saves her life as she’s not outside when the comet appears!

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Let’s see… She’s also amazing at playing video games (she’s super pissed off that some new initials have emerged in amongst all her high scores on the video game at the movie theater where she works). Oh! And… She’s good at fighting off zombies and is really good with a gun as the girls’ father was in the military or something and taught them both how to shoot (now very convenient for these comet-apocalypse girls!). Finally, she wears the coolest 80’s clothes and is of course totally attractive.

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Summary:

Wow. I hope none of you actually read any of that above – it sounds like I was a massive geek! Well, all kids are geeks at that age, right? This is the first CPD Classic that I actually re-watched before writing my review as I hadn’t seen it in a long time. I already knew it wasn’t that “good” so was expecting it to be horribly dated now. You know what? It’s better than I remember. I can’t say anyone watching this for the first time now is going to love it unless they love 80’s movies (and this is VERY 80’s) but it’s a fun film and has a very “cult classic” feel to it now. There are plenty of 80’s films I still adore even though I will readily admit that they’ve not aged well but I was very surprised to find that, after re-watching Night Of The Comet, it’s actually gone up in my estimation. Worth a watch for lovers of the 80’s, anything post-apocalyptic, zombies, video games, girls dressed as cheerleaders while shooting guns, no thorough plot explanations, and shopping.

My Rating: 8/10

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