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The House of the Devil (2009)

R | | Horror | 4 May 2012 (Taiwan)
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In 1983, financially struggling college student Samantha Hughes takes a strange babysitting job that coincides with a full lunar eclipse. She slowly realizes her clients harbor a terrifying secret, putting her life in mortal danger.

Director:

Ti West

Writer:

Ti West
3 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jocelin Donahue ... Samantha
Tom Noonan ... Mr. Ulman
Mary Woronov ... Mrs. Ulman
Greta Gerwig ... Megan
AJ Bowen ... Victor Ulman
Dee Wallace ... Landlady
Heather Robb Heather Robb ... Roommate
Darryl Nau Darryl Nau ... Random Guy
Brenda Cooney ... Nurse
Danielle Noe Danielle Noe ... Mother
Mary B. McCann ... Elaine Cross (as Mary McCann)
John Speredakos ... Ted Stephen
Lena Dunham ... 911 Operator (voice)
Graham Reznick ... Local DJ (voice)
Ti West ... Favorite Teacher
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Storyline

In 1983, financially struggling college student Samantha Hughes takes a strange babysitting job that coincides with a full lunar eclipse. She slowly realizes her clients harbor a terrifying secret, putting her life in mortal danger.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Talk on the Phone. Finish Your Homework. Watch TV. Die. See more »

Genres:

Horror

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some bloody violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

4 May 2012 (Taiwan) See more »

Also Known As:

A Casa do Demônio See more »

Filming Locations:

Lakeville, Connecticut, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$900,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$25,195, 30 October 2009, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$100,659, 27 December 2009
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Shot on 16mm film (very popular in the 80s) to give it a retro stylistic look. See more »

Goofs

Samantha's hair changes from almost straight to very curly when she is at the house, babysitting. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Landlady: I can tell you like it.
Samantha: Oh, I love it. It's perfect.
Landlady: Well, great. It's such a neat place. You know, I showed it to another girl this morning, but to be honest I did like her very much. She looked like trouble, and I'm way too old to be dealing with all that nonsense. I go a lot on my gut feelings, and I have a good one about you. You remind me of my daughter.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Special Thanks: Goatse & Tubgirl See more »


Soundtracks

One of Our Submarines
Written by Thomas Dolby
Performed by Thomas Dolby
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A masterclass in the atmospheric chiller...until the resolution
10 June 2012 | by tsheridan94See all my reviews

I find it impossible to give this movie less than a seven, because, even if the ending was absolutely a letdown, the first 80% of the movie was so excellently constructed that its cinematic value cannot be lessened too greatly.

And excellent The House of the Devil is for most of its duration. Director/Writer/Editor Ti West shows a remarkable proficiency for being able to truly scare, through an excellent slow-burn build-up, allowing the atmosphere of the titular house and the anticipation for when it is inevitably released to bring a viewer to nail-biting fear, rather than simply trying to startle with constant Boo! Got'cha! "scares," or excessive gore. In the end, this method is far more effective and lasting, less artificial than the latter methods which seem to, unfortunately, be the bread and butter of modern American horror filmmakers.

However, when the denouement rolls around, this is completely thrown out the window. Sure, the gore may look nice (and indeed it does; not top of the line, but it belies the film's budget), but it completely abandons House's almost regal sense of restraint that worked so effectively for nearly the entire length of the movie. Not to mention, the transition in styles is itself so jarring that I was pulled from the experience for nearly 10 minutes, an unfortunate occurrence when that covers almost the entire duration of the remainder. The release of the built up fear was clumsy and ineffective, and the effect of the movie after the credits rolled was erased. I wasn't left with the feeling that something could be lurking just out of sight over my shoulder that the best horror movies provide; a tension that extends beyond the movie's run-time. This problem I believe to later be solved by Ti West's later film "The Innkeepers," a picture I believe (and seemingly in the minority) to be the superior movie.

However, despite its eventual letdown, the remainder of House of the Devil was truly a horror experience I rarely see from recent American horror films, this difference between House of the Devil and its peers thrown into sharp relief by the clearly nostalgic feel it gives off, even from the opening credits. Even the grainy camera shots add a sense of, for lack of a better word, enjoyable "retro" style, rather than becoming a detriment. And the camera work itself is also exemplary, snaking and twisting its way among the oppressive halls of the house that seems more an antique than something to be lived in.

The House of the Devil is unquestionably a good movie. For most of the film, I was completely drawn in, waiting with a rising anticipation to see what was lurking around the corner; The House of the Devil is truly scary even with its superficial sense of the mundane. Nothing is shown, save for one particularly haunting shot of what lies behind a door that remains (at least temporarily) unopened, and it is all the better for that. But this is before (please excuse the pun) everything goes to Hell at the climax. I'd certainly recommend this film; just don't expect the release to be able to come close to matching the rising action.


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