The Horror Film of the Year available on DVD. — Sam (Donahue) is a pretty college sophomore, so desperate to earn some cash for a deposit on an apartment that she accepts a babysitting job even after she finds out there is ... more »no baby. Mr. and Mrs. Ulman (cult actors Noonan and Woronov) are the older couple who lure Sam out to their creaky Victorian mansion deep in the woods, just in time for a total lunar eclipse. Megan (Gerwig) is Sam's best friend, who gives her a ride out to the house, and reluctantly leaves her there despite suspecting that something is amiss. Victor (Bowen) at first seems like just a creepy guy lurking around the house, but quickly makes it clear that Sam will end this night in a bloody fight for her life...
"I saw this movie twice I loved it so much. What a great old fashioned horror/suspense/thriller type of film. First off, the film was shot in 2008 but the time era it actually takes place in is the early 1980's (Thomas Dolby's "One of our Submarines" was a hit on the radio as they indicate in the film). The big thing then was tape player walkmans and rotary telephones. No email, cell phones or twitter here! Makes you think what the hell would I do in this circumstance? This film is just creepy. There's not a lot of action. There are no monsters. Just a creepy couple and their creepy son. I classify this film with "Let's Scare Jessica to Death (1972)" and "Don't be Afraid of the Dark (1970-something)" The film is also based on true events which makes it that much more interesting and scary. And whether the world likes it or not, there are Satanic Cults out there. They do exist. Which, again, makes this film all the more scarier. I'm buying it on DVD when it's released in 2010. If you're a sucker for good horror, I highly recommend this movie!"
Horror done correctly
Richard J. Leis | Tucson, AZ United States | 10/04/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
""The House of the Devil" is an assured little film that fondly invokes horror films from the 1970s and 1980s. Many people are going to complain that this movie is slow and boring, but they are missing the joys of this type of film making completely. The best horror is a slow burn leading up to the proverbial poo hitting the whirling blades. You have time to begin to care about these characters, before something terrible happens to them and it cuts deep.
The plot: a college student is ready to move out of her dorm and into a nice rental home, but needs to make some quick cash to pay the first month's rent. Responding to a flyer requesting a babysitter, she will get much more than she bargained for.
The final twenty minutes, while rapid-paced and bloody, do not live up to the promising tension built up by the rest of the movie. However, if the end was a bit of a letdown, overall the movie was very well done. This is not the action-packed gore fest that some people might be expecting. Instead, it is a solid throwback to horror films that used setting, tone, atmosphere, character-building, and music to build up to the scary!"
SKOLVK | TUCSON | 03/15/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
""The House of the Devil" is one of the better horror movies I've seen in quite sometime. It was nice to see a horror film that showed a attention to detail and a eye for suspenseful cinematography, and of course, one that was really creepy. "The House of the Devil" is a tale of a desperate Co-ed named Sam, who is strapped for cash. She replies to a "Babysitting" gig to make a quick $100 but there is something strange and desperate about the man offering her the job. After some deliberation her and her friend drive out to the back woods house where she meets with the man and his wife, an odd couple dressed in all black. Soon, the husband confesses that this isn't a babysitting gig, he wants her to stay in the house and respond in case his "bedridden mother upstairs" has any problems. Sam is ready to forget the whole thing but he offers her a whopping $400 for four hours of work. Something any cash strapped co-ed would have trouble refusing. Sam agrees to the terms but as the night progresses she will soon be fighting for her life. I can understand how some will find "House of the Devil" a tad slow and boring but as a fan of suspense rather than gore I found the movie to be an excellent exercise in building tension and the production of a beautifully shot horror movie. The simple shots of the house in the dark surround by the sinister and ominous woodlands was enough to send a chill down my spine. It reminded me a little of "Susperia" which automatically won its favor with me. Aside from the technical aspects, everyone contributed solid performances. Jocelin Donahue is perfect as the polite but naive Sam and Tom Noonan plays the creepy "tall man dressed in black holding a cane satanist" to a T. "House of the Devil" is a solid horror flick with flashes of brilliance and a refreshing alternative to all the carbon copy slasher flicks that come out every year. Most importantly I think it functions as a great cautionary tale to all the aspiring babysitters out there. If they seem like satanists then they probably are."
House of Ambling Around
Dennis Matthews | Portland OR | 06/03/2010
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I can't say if this movie is "good" or "bad" but I can give my opinion. Bear that in mind if you want to read this.
I watched "House of the Devil" and I didn't like it. I asked myself some of the questions that I've seen the defenders of this movie use against reviewers who don't like it.
Is it because it's a "slow burn"? No, I'm a big fan of 1970s "slow burn" movies; "Let's Scare Jessica To Death" qualifies in that category and it's one of my favorite horror movies.
Is it because I just don't "get" it? It's a pretty simple story, so there isn't a lot to "get", and I understand minimalism when it's used for effect, so I don't think I missed anything. I'm not going to read my version of the director's intent into the movie to justify it to myself or anyone else, though.
Yes, the film DOES capture the look of the early 80s, but that's simply reducing history to a template for fashion and style and isn't the same thing as creating mood or atmosphere. Long stretches of mundane tedium isn't the same thing as creating tension, either.
I never learned anything more about the main character than what's in the premise set-up during the entire runtime. The story itself is never fleshed out enough to qualify as more than a premise set-up. That might work in a short film under twenty minutes, but it left a lot to be desired in a ninety minute horror movie.
With all the padding where nothing happens, there's plenty of room for something other than just waiting for something to happen. Watching this movie, I felt like I was being slowly embalmed while alive, and by the end of the movie when something finally happened, I was numb beyond caring.
Bottom line? I didn't like "House of the Devil" because it bored me. Between the premise set-up in the first ten minutes and the pay-off in the last ten minutes there was nothing to hold my interest. "
Dripping wet with atmosphere, but dry on action
C. Christopher Blackshere | I am the devil's reject | 02/14/2010
(3 out of 5 stars)
"High praises to Director Ti West with this excellent attempt. House of the Devil avoids current pratfalls and absurd, over-the-top rubbish that placates most new horror flicks. Thumbs up for that. This is more of a subtle, intelligent suspense story that will challenge your wits.
However, it's far from perfect. This movie doesn't deliver anything very original with the premise. Another college student/babysitting type of setup. But the idea of a satanic cult touches on a sensitive nerve that is all too disturbing.
But the Devil never really gets his due. This movie has solid acting, good character development, and creepy sound effects. Unfortunately, not much of a payoff for your patience. The story tiptoes along, and finally reaches a frightening bloody climax. Too bad it ends so abruptly.
Overall, House of the Devil is a well told story that includes a little gore. Just not much else happening. 3.5 stars."