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Rental Review: House of the Devil

February 26, 2010

There is something to be said for a horror film that is made by someone who clearly knows and loves the genre. “House of the Devil” by Ti West is a throwback to earlier films that sadistically made you wait, slowly building the tension and fear within its audience until the inevitable dramatic conclusion. But the payoff is in the waiting. The creeped out feeling you get as she puts on her Walkman and dances freely through the house while you wait for the monster to be around every corner. The hysterical laughter as you realize you have been so enraptured with the film that the sound of a doorbell makes you scream bloody murder. 

Set in the 1980s, Jocelin Donahue’s character, Samantha, needs out of her dorm and wants to find her own place. When the possibility of making the kind of money she needs arises and all she has to do is babysit, she jumps on the chance despite her own gut concern and concern of her best friend, Megan (played by Greta Gerwig). 

West takes the best of horror cliches and blends them nicely into his own tale of suspense. You know that babysitting out in the middle of nowhere with no car is not going to turn out well. You know the big empty house and an eclipse on the way is not going to mean a happy ending. The strange friendliness and dark shadows on the homeowners, the mother that you never see, the creepy tone of the pizza delivery caller, Samantha’s choice to run upstairs instead of out the door – we’ve seen all this and yet it works because of your own love of the genre.  

The subtle lighting and score from Jeff Grace only add to the fantastic execution of suspense that West employs for the film. It is such a film that gives me hope for horror. The 

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One Comment leave one →
  1. August 7, 2011 9:18 am

    Your article perelfcty shows what I needed to know, thanks!

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