Tuesday, August 3, 2010

REVIEWFLIX: The House of the Devil (2009)

(The latest film I checked out from Netflix, title links to it on there and this one is available for instant gratification.)

Was a little bored on Sunday night so I browsed the netflix instant queue (a process that takes a minimum of 15 minutes since I have to look at everything there and what is new) and found this little gem. It is one that had been sitting in the regular queue for a while so I kept putting it off but finally sat down and watched it after its move to the instant. WARNING: Reading the rest of this review, you will be willingly subjecting yourself to me gushing with delight over this horror film.

The plot is pretty basic as are a lot of horror films. A teenage girl is hired as a babysitter and the circumstances as well as the house she is in gets weirder and weirder. The true brilliance of the film lies in the homage it pays to the horror films of the 70s and 80s. Beginning with credits styled in the fashion of the time, freeze frames with colorful letters, the film takes you back to a simpler time, when a horror film stood for something ;) Props, costumes, buildings, hairstyles, and even food look spectacular in this period piece. Supplemented by the great compositions, song choices, and 16 mm film the movie leaves very little evidence of it being made in 2009. Not only does this film look the part, but it nails the feeling as well.

Suspense and pacing are perfect, getting the viewer to jump at every phone or doorbell ringing. Not to be totally predictable though, the film throws an early surprise or two in there to keep the viewer on the edge of their seat. Lighting was excellent, something a lot of current horror films seem to neglect entirely. Acting isn't the greatest but isn't the worst either, just adding more to the film's devilish charm.

Ti West wearing the director, writer, and editor's hats delivers a fully realized vision of an 80s horror film to a modern audience. 5 out 5 stars for me although if you don't enjoy horror films you probably won't like this one either. I recommend everyone old enough check it out anyway though, it is worth the price of admission to take a hop back in time to the early 80s.


  1. Excellent review!

    However, I had a different opinion of the acting. I thought the cast did a nice job of not over-playing it (except where necessary ;) ). The guy who played the father had a particularly disarming quality to him, which justified the protagonist's actions and relaxed me a bit, setting me up for further scares.

    Also I have to give kudos to the movie for having a prolonged part where there was no dialogue whatsoever!

  2. That is kind of what I was trying to say with the acting but you put it a lot better. It was good where it needed to be and bad/over acted where it needed to be.

  3. Loved the film, great review of it also. This movie allowed for the most necessary dance sequence I've ever seen. I'll have to look this Ti West guy up and follow his work.