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The House of the Devil
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The House of the Devil More at IMDbPro »

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105 out of 140 people found the following review useful:

any second now i'll be blown away... maybe not

6/10
Author: RickHarvey from Stockport
13 June 2010

Well then, what do we have here? A modern horror film placed in the 70/80s era. I already like Ti West thinking. With most Horror films today being god damn awful, it refreshing to see one which pays homage to the classics while trying to be unique. From start to finish, the film is littered with classic horror references. The opening titles design, the babysitter, Satanism. Even some parts of the music score is identical to the famous Halloween score.

Now then, this film is very slow. It takes it time to build up, in fact, it takes the main character 30 minutes to reach the house. Thank god then that Samatha was likable. Now, it doesn't matter how slow a film starts, i mean the shining is regarded as slow but there one big contrast between the film's build up. One goes somewhere the other doesn't . Once we finally get to the house, we do nothing more than watch Samatha stroll around for the rest of the film.

West atmosphere is perfect, his camera work was great, the suspension was brilliant but nothing ever came from these very few moments. The suspense just keeps building , West keeps on adding more fuel onto the fire until finally he runs out and the credits starts rolling . Very little happens and when we do reach the final act, it ends up being boring and forgettable.

This film looks great but sadly , the script is poor leaving a potential film into a easily forgettable one. If you particularly enjoy watching people do nothing for a hour and 10 minutes, then this is highly recommended

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123 out of 198 people found the following review useful:

Like a Lost Horror Classic from 1982

Author: Llakor from Montreal, Quebec, Canada
27 July 2009

If the producers of this film were smart, they would deny that Ti West wrote and directed this film and claim that it was a lost film of the early eighties that they found in a drawer at Paramount. Say a lost Tobe Hooper film that Tobe did right before doing Poltergeist. Something that Steven Spielberg bought to keep from competing with Poltergeist and shoved in a drawer somewhere.

Because it's that good. The House of the Devil feels like it should have been released back in 1982, from the feathered hair of the leads, to the Walkman, to the music and sound, to the slow build of the suspense, to the vintage titles. It is even a mash-up of the late seventies obsessions with baby-sitters in peril (When a Stranger Calls) and satanism in the suburbs (The Omen). Most importantly, it has all the slow-burn intensity of the great horror films of that period.

The baby-sitter in peril is Samantha (Jocelin Donahue). A college student, she is doing baby-sitting gigs because she needs money for a new apartment and desperately wants to get out of her dorm. Her roommate is a sex-addict and a slob and Samantha as a neat-freak germaphobe finds both behaviours repulsive. The job that Samantha ends up taking, on the night of a full lunar eclipse, is obviously (cue Admiral Ackbar) a trap, more obvious to the audience than to Samantha because we know that the name of the film is The House of the Devil, because her employer is Tom Noonan, the original Red Dragon from Michael Mann's Manhunter and because Samantha is too self-absorbed to notice that she is in danger.

There is a danger to read too much into it, but there is a very real sense that this film is pitched perfectly at the divide between the sex and drugs disco party lifestyle of the Seventies and the money-obsessed, self-absorbed Eighties.

There is even a sense in which the film (with the benefit of filmmaker hindsight) acts as a horror metaphor explaining how the drugs and sex excesses of the Seventies led to the health catastrophes of the Eighties, especially AIDS. Samantha may not know exactly why she is a germaphobe, nor why she is so freaked out by the house she is sitting at, but her anxieties are well-placed.

And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born? -William Butler Yeats, The Second Coming

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98 out of 167 people found the following review useful:

Classic suspense horror for true fans of the genre

8/10
Author: freakinflax (freakinflax@hotmail.com) from Manchester, NH
18 October 2009

I heard some good things about this film before viewing, and then on this site heard some bad things. I've come to believe that listening to others doesn't always help. It's all about opinion and experience, and in my opinion, this experience was worth it.

I won't get into too many details of the plot as the reviews and trailers tell it straight forward, but as far as tension, cinematography, atmosphere, music and style goes, this film really has it all. It's a classic story of your ordinary girl next door being put into an extraordinary situation. It's a situation that she tries to avoid, the people around her try to avoid, and you as a viewer knows she should avoid but can't help and stay to see what transpires.

If you're looking for a run of the mill slasher flick, a psychological thriller, or an action packed gore fest, I'm sorry but this isn't for you. However, if you're into the types of horror movies that take a simple, almost predictable concept and turns it on its' head in an unrelenting fashion, then look no further. This movie will stay with you for a few days for different reasons, but my biggest turn on was the feeling throughout the film, an homage to earlier times, and an evil that knows no bounds.

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62 out of 100 people found the following review useful:

Snorefest followed by a Borefest

3/10
Author: rsu6sic6
18 January 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Before watching this movie I looked at some ratings for it and it it had a decent rating on IMDb so I figured I'd watch it. I started watching this movie late at night in hopes of giving myself a scare. Unfortunately, basically nothing happens in 70 minutes of the film. It took me 3 days to finish this snore fest of a movie. The first night was because I was tired and only got through 15 minutes, the second night I could only watch up to the 70 minute mark until I said to myself, "If nothing happens within the next 2 minutes I gotta stop watching this." Nothing happened so I went to sleep. With only about 25 minutes left in the movie, I watched it the following day. I had to wait 5 more minutes before anything actually picked up in the movie. That gave me about 20 minutes left. Luckily the snore fest upgraded itself to a bore fest. The babysitter finds a tub filled with hair, Oh so scary, then she passes out from the poison pizza she ate, Oh what a twist. Now she is tied up for a Satanic ritual, the owners of the house are all back and ready to sacrifice her. Somehow she escapes, beats people up, runs outside, blows her head off to save the human race and her soul the end. Oh whats this? A shot of a hospital? She's alive with her head bandaged up? How did she get there? How did she live a self inflicted gunshot wound to the head, how did the family explain the situation to paramedics? What a well thought out twist ending. Best ending ever.

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68 out of 113 people found the following review useful:

10 minutes movie

1/10
Author: Dean_DX from Mexico
13 January 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I have never seen a movie like this. I'm sorry to say this, but this is by far one of the most boring movies I've ever seen in my life.

The storyline is not that bad, but, it looks that the writer didn't have time to actually write something!! I'm sure that the screenplay doesn't have more than 20 sheets, because it's impossible...

Bad actings, bad ambientation, horrible screenplay, and, just to finish with greatness, 75 minutes of a young girl doing absolutely NOTHING!!! And after that 10 mins of "action", and that's all... The freakin' movie doesn't even has an ending!!! I'm just going to beg you something, please, for the love of God, don't waste 85 minutes of your life watching this!! I wish someone would tell me this before!!

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57 out of 96 people found the following review useful:

dull and full of anachronism

2/10
Author: marymorrissey from United States
13 November 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

it figures that the LA Weekly would single this movie out for praise. It was DULL. And, yeah, the ending made no sense whatsoever. Nothing that the girl saw ought to have given her any sense that there was anything truly supernatural afoot. Unless you count her miraculously getting loose from her bonds! That was pretty convenient and not very imaginative. Tom Noonan's performance in reminded me of someone going over his lines just to see if he had them. Awful! The girl was alone on screen for most of the film and it was asking too much that she should carry the movie. I'm trying to remember what other film it is - I think one of the "alien" series - in which a character is scared witless, creeping about all paranoid in one scene, and in the next (way overly long) scene somehow decides the thing to do is to put on a walkman and just bop around carelessly until she bumps into the monster. This appeared to have been shot on film, for what that's worth, with inadequate light. The bulk of the story was pretty much pointless. They might as well have just grabbed the victim and tied her up as soon as her friend left. And how the hell was she supposed to have been impregnated? The "surprise ending" was straight out of "surprise ending central" for there surely is such a thing. You'd think you would at least be careful to avoid contemporary figures of speech like "I don't want anymore drama!" in a film set in the 80s. Mary Woronov was more or less OK. She didn't have a hell of a lot to work with, but she's quite used to that!

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66 out of 115 people found the following review useful:

The Devil is in the Details, and the Classic Horror

10/10
Author: spencergrande6 from United States
4 November 2009

The House of the Devil is a fastidiously detailed, pitch-perfect homage to 80's horror, that adheres to genre conventions while at the same time transcending them. Director Ti West understands what makes horror films work, that the horror is always more exciting when you don't know when to expect it. Jocelin Donahue plays Samantha, typical college-girl hoping to get a place of her own but without the cash to do so. She accepts a babysitting job that promises to pay well, and is then left in a creepy house in the middle of nowhere. Borrowing a page from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre (and others) playbook, the been there, done that story is absolutely the point, complete with opening statistics promising a true story. Horror doesn't need to be complicated, just well executed. West builds dread and terror like a pro, understanding the classic Hitchcock sensibility that people fear what they don't see, and what they don't know (Lovecraft said so as well). In the face of torture porn and slasher flicks, where the only horror is the gore and the murder (and unnecessary soundtrack spikes), it is quite unsettling to be subjected to a thrill ride like this one.

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27 out of 38 people found the following review useful:

suspenseful buildup, less satisfying resolution

6/10
Author: Roland E. Zwick (magneteach@aol.com) from United States
22 April 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

In "The House of the Devil," a young co-ed (Jocelin Donahue), hard-up for money to pay the rent on her new place off campus, answers an ad for a babysitting job way out in the boonies, only to be plunged headlong into a bizarre devil-worshipping cult in search of a sacrificial victim.

Set in the 1980s - in a time before cell phones gave us at least the illusion of connectedness and security - this refreshingly unadorned and unembellished thriller does something rather unique with its structure (possibly a necessity brought on by its extremely low budget). The story comes to such a slow boil that the stretched-out tension becomes almost unbearable, thereby enhancing the atmosphere of dread.

Unfortunately, die-hard slasher movie fans may be disappointed by the rather rushed, truncated and anticlimactic nature of the final scenes, in which our heroine finds herself being held captive by some of the most feckless and least competent kidnappers in horror movie history.

Still, the suspenseful buildup is more than compensation for the half-baked and halfhearted resolution that follows.

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42 out of 70 people found the following review useful:

Lunar eclipse leaves babysitter in the dark until it's perhaps too late.

7/10
Author: tyler-and-jack from Edinburgh.
5 January 2010

The babysitter in peril has long been a staple of the horror movie genre. And it still works well, in the right hands. Writer/director Ti West here proves that his hands are good enough to fashion a decent yarn from such an oft-used premise.

Jocelin Donahue plays Samantha, a financially embarrassed student who ends up taking a babysitting job from the mysterious Mr. Ulman (played by the great Tom Noonan). The pay is phenomenal and it seems too good to be true. Which, of course, it is.

Capturing the feel and style of the 80s and 80s movies, this movie joins a host of others that seem to want to give modern horror fans that warm, joyful glow they all used to feel when viewing a favourite videotape back in the decade that many see as the halcyon days of horror flicks. Thankfully, that's not all this film is about although it must be said that the detail and maintaining of the whole 80s vibe is quite superb.

The acting is great throughout (and genre fans will also enjoy a cameo from Dee Wallace here), from newcomers and old-timers alike, and the story unfolds at a leisurely pace that spaces out a few chills and shocks but that doesn't ever seem too slow in relation to the minor moments that become part of the bigger picture.

There are some clichés here and there, and it's not strikingly original in any way, but I think that somehow this amounts to more than simply the sum of its parts. Fans of the 80s should love it, as should those seeking something a little bit different from the likes of every other 3D horror or even Saw 15, etc.

See this if you like: Babysitter Wanted, The Devil Rides Out, House Of 1000 Corpses.

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15 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

The Devil has all the best details!

9/10
Author: bobhartshorn from United Kingdom
26 May 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I really love this movie. It's superbly recreated 80's retro setting, and carefully built up tension & suspense had me hooked from the off, as this tale of a female student babysitting in a (brilliantly & beautifully exploited) creepy house for an even more creepy couple, quickly weaved it's measured, magical spell.

The grand-guignol finale jarred with me on the first watch, but repeat viewings have reshaped that initial reaction into a fully rounded appreciation of director Ti West's spot-on homage' to a by-gone era.

The cast are excellent (not least pre-stardom Greta Gerwig) and the attention to detail raises it several notches above lesser horrors aiming for the same aesthetic. HOTD also contains one of the best timed, and harshest second act shocks since 1960's Psycho. It'll knock your block off (its that good).

A 24 Karat modern horror classic!

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