Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The House of the Devil

image directed by: ti west

release date: 2009

Based on true events regarding satanic cult rituals in the eighties, this film is about those events.
Very slow but concise in execution, the director played up the suspense for seventy-five percent of the movie (or even more) but this drawn out narrative proved to be successful for this die-hard horror film fanatic.
The story is simple – down and out girl, Samantha (Jocelin Donahue) is seeking employment and has signed on to move into a small place near her school campus. She happens to pass by the school bulletin board and a posting for a babysitter catches her eye. She calls and after being stood up by the employer, finally agrees to a last minute job for double the price. She needs the money so she accepts the offer. Samantha’s friend, Megan (Greta Gerwig) drives her out to a secluded house in a very woodsy area and promises to come back for her after midnight. After that, the narrative moves deliberately until the punch at the end.

There were unexpected moments, a kool eighties soundtrack (the music Samantha was listening to on her Walkman – yes on her Walkman!), and solid acting performances from the whole cast.
I particularly loved Greta Gerwig’s blasé demeanor and believed her performance; I see her in more dramatic pictures with a few random comedies sprinkled in for more exposure (she was decent in No Strings Attached). The lead, Jocelin was also believable as victim Samantha in this mad house of Satan.
A taut horror film that had me turning on the lights in my place soon after. I am not frightened easily and for a film to creep me out this way, congratulations to the filmmakers of this movie.
The end result was twisted and disturbing. I really hope there isn’t a sequel to this – it doesn’t need it!
Ti West apparently wrote and directed the sequel to Cabin Fever but soon after, wanted to remove his name from the credits because producers took control of the picture and filmed an entirely new ending. I have not seen the sacrilegious sequel in question (big fan of the original) so I don’t have any valid comparisons to his prior work. I must say this picture was successful and if he can bang out more films like this, I’ll be a fan fo’ life.
A decent horror flick with great atmosphere – damn good.