Directed by Ti West
Written by Ti West
Starring Jocelin Donahue, Tom Noonan, Mary Woronov, Greta Gerwig
95 mins - Horror | Thriller - Release date: 30 October 2009
You know that moment inmovies where a friend expresses the voice of reason to another friend? And you’re like, “Listen to her!” Well, The House of the Devil has that moment. It’s actually highlighted to the n’th degree and I was left divided within myself; there was a part of me that wanted the responsible and shy Samantha (Jocelin Donahue – Insidious: Chapter 2) to listen to the advice of her friend, the wild and spontaneous Megan (Greta Gerwig), and there was another part of me that longed to see Samantha get into as much trouble as possible, which she did.
The House of the Devil, directed by Ti West (Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever, V/H/S, The ABCs of Death), tells the story of a struggling student, Samantha, desperate to get out of her dorm and away from her roommate. After accepting to rent an apartment she can barely afford, she takes a babysitting job offered by an equally desperate “parent.” Problem is, there’s no kid, there’s supposedly an elderly invalid to take care of. And the employer, a very unusual and suspicious Mr. Ulman (Tom Noonan – The Alphabet Killer, Tales from the Dark Side, Robocop 2, Last Action Hero), keeps lining the coffers until Samantha just can’t say no.
After several unnerving occurrences during her stay, all hell eventually breaks out as the satanists try to make her a sacrifice.
The House of the Devil moves at a deliberate snail’s pace, which effectively builds tension. Ti West also utilized long, lingering scenes that were purposely repeated, especially those of Samantha walking about campus. The film was also set in the 1980s, drawing upon an older horror vibe and that whole “stranger upstairs” and “don’t answer the phone” type of theme.
If you think films about satanists are the scariest, then you’re not going to want to miss this. If you can tolerate the slow pace of The House of the Devil, then you will be rewarded with a killer climax. The effect of the slow pace can be equated to holding a conversation and whispering the whole time and shouting your last sentence. Ti West deserves credit for delivering an old story in an original way and his vision for the slow pace is brilliant. I think horror fans will greatly appreciate this film and must see it.