The House of the Devil (2009)
written and directed by Ti West
Rating: 2 / 5 – Okay
There’s a lot to like in The House of the Devil, Ti West’s homage to the horror films of the 70’s and 80’s. It was shot on grainy 16mm, uses zooms to heighten tension, and has open and end title sequences where the action is frozen so you can read the words on screen. It develops slowly and moodily, as a young college student named Samantha (Jocelin Donahue) signs up for a babysitting job that brings her face to face with a group of devil-worshipping wackos. And for a while, it’s clever about its setup, with an atmospheric country home that recalls other “evil house” movies such as Burnt Offerings (1976).
But then Samantha starts to do idiotic things, as people in these movies often do. She walks upstairs instead of staying put downstairs. She opens doors, peeks in bathroom tubs, and finds strange photographs. She dances around the eerie mansion, eyes closed, to the beat of The Fixx’s One Thing Leads to Another (1983). Good song. But once she gets picked to be Satan’s bride, you can’t help but feel she kind of deserves it.
Plus, who in their right mind accepts to babysit for Tom Noonan? The guy was The Tooth Fairy in Manhunter (1986), for Chrissakes!
Carlos I. Cuevas