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The House of the Devil (2009)



Average Rating: 7.2/10
Reviews Counted: 93
Fresh: 80 | Rotten: 13

Though its underlying themes are familiar, House of the Devil effectively sheds the loud and gory cliches of contemporary horror to deliver a tense, slowly building throwback to the fright flicks of decades past.


Average Rating: 6.8/10
Critic Reviews: 18
Fresh: 15 | Rotten: 3

Though its underlying themes are familiar, House of the Devil effectively sheds the loud and gory cliches of contemporary horror to deliver a tense, slowly building throwback to the fright flicks of decades past.



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Average Rating: 3.3/5
User Ratings: 53,607

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Movie Info

A coed struggling to pay her rent ends up taking the wrong part-time job in writer-director Ti West's old-school 1980s-set horror flick, The House of the Devil. Samantha (Jocelin Donahue) is a sweet-natured and retiring young woman, unlike her rambunctious, loud, and self-assured best buddy, Megan (mumblecore stalwart Greta Gerwig). After moving into a new apartment, Samantha is desperate for a way to make a few more bucks. When Mr. Ulman (Tom Noonan) comes on campus looking for a babysitter,



Ti West

Feb 2, 2010

Magnolia Pictures - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (93) | Top Critics (18) | Fresh (80) | Rotten (13) | DVD (7)

The film's nostalgic design is subtle enough not to dampen the seriously sinister atmospherics.

March 19, 2010 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

In keeping with his models, West is concerned with not suspense exactly but the ritual withholding and ultimate lavishing of bloody chaos.

December 17, 2009 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

West, a rising young director of minor cult pleasures, comes clean here about his love for all things Bava (Mario) and Carpenter (John).

December 3, 2009 Full Review Source: Boston Globe
Boston Globe
Top Critic IconTop Critic

There's a payoff in The House of the Devil, if you have the patience. Some of the scenes seem draggy, but the characters are complex, and their motivations are explained.

November 19, 2009 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Even the familiar tropes of The House of the Devil are familiar in the right way, like an old, bloodstained sweater.

November 12, 2009 Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The film may provide an introduction for some audience members to the Hitchcockian definition of suspense: It's the anticipation, not the happening, that's the fun.

November 12, 2009 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

West is going to do something outstanding someday, as soon as he figures out something to say.

June 22, 2013 Full Review Source: Deadspin

The problem with it, and with House of the Devil, is that it's mostly pedestrian stuff leading to a pay off that's just not enough.

October 10, 2012 Full Review Source: Film School Rejects
Film School Rejects

Sam's end is disturbing but also banal, even silly, but the end is not the point. The point is your anticipation.

October 10, 2012 Full Review Source: PopMatters

The House of the Devil isn't just a movie: it's an experience. It joins the league of Rosemary's Baby, The Exorcist and The Omen as one of the most diabolical entries in the modern horror library.

October 10, 2012 Full Review Source: Paste Magazine
Paste Magazine

In this era of torture porn and slasher pics, House of the Devil is a shining example of how to build atmosphere and tension the old-fashioned way.

October 10, 2012 Full Review Source:

If you don't get a kick out of watching doomed babysitter Samantha put on that portable cassette player and dance around that creepy house to the strains of the Fixx's "One Thing Leads to Another," you might need a course in Horror Appreciation 101.

October 10, 2012 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Laden with dread and executed with a musician's sense of timing, The House of the Devil is better than a substantial number of the films it resembles.

June 2, 2012 Full Review Source: Reel Times: Reflections on Cinema
Reel Times: Reflections on Cinema

A virtual refutation of all of the conventions of contemporary horror that manages to be terrifying precisely because it refuses to give you that gratification until you've almost given up wanting it.

February 15, 2012 Full Review Source:

The sudden climax is a gore-drenched bonanza of Satanic delirium that seems to be making up for the calm that came before, if not spoofing the very idea of cinematic payoff.

February 1, 2012 Full Review Source: LarsenOnFilm

Now this is how you make a scary movie. The House of the Devil is a delicious throwback to the golden era of Hollywood horror -- one that is unapologetically earnest and overwhelmingly committed to the task at hand.

October 21, 2010 Full Review Source: Quickflix

Recreates the feeling of 80s horror; less CGI, more imagination and a whole lot of corn syrup.

August 14, 2010 Full Review Source:

It's full of meat and marrow. I'm going in again.

May 18, 2010 Full Review Source: Film Freak Central
Film Freak Central

...there's simply never a point at which the almost distractingly uneventful narrative becomes as compelling as one might've hoped.

March 28, 2010 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews | Comments (6)
Reel Film Reviews

The pay-off is a little far-fetched, but by then we have had our emotional workout.

March 22, 2010 Full Review Source: Financial Times
Financial Times

The power of this film lies in the approach to the inevitable final act, rather than the realisation of the act itself.

March 22, 2010
Little White Lies

The finale descends into predictable mayhem, but it's the build-up that'll haunt you.

March 22, 2010 Full Review Source: Radio Times | Comments (2)
Radio Times

A master of the slow-burn, West carefully creates an atmosphere of clammy dread through Noonan and Woronov's off-kilter performances and dialogue, and direction that encases Donahue in shadow or squeezes uncomfortably close-in.

March 22, 2010 Full Review Source: Sky Movies
Sky Movies

Imagine a bad Ken Loach film invaded by monsters from a George A. Romero movie that's run out of cash, and you've already visualised a movie better than this one.

March 22, 2010 Full Review Source: Daily Mail [UK] | Comment (1)
Daily Mail [UK]

Although the last reel is a little disappointing, the twist ending is a scream.

March 19, 2010 Full Review Source: Times [UK]
Times [UK]

Things quickly get silly and unscary.

March 19, 2010 Full Review Source: Guardian [UK] | Comment (1)
Guardian [UK]

Audience Reviews for The House of the Devil

May 7, 2013
Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

Oh I absolutely loved this movie. It's a brilliant throwback to the old days of horror where the most terrifying thing was what wasn't on screen, rather than what is on screen and splattered all over the place. It was made in 2009, but looks so genuinely authentic for when it takes place you would swear they shot it in the 70's. Even the titles and music match. I don't want to give anything away, but this film has many surprises in store and if you are a lover of horror films you have to watch it.
October 18, 2012

Super Reviewer

Very smartly constructed horror homage/horrifyingly stupid, sadly underdeveloped 80s flick
October 8, 2012
Kevin Cookman

Super Reviewer

Created in the vain of 80s style horror (really slow zooms and all), 'House of the Devil' does a excedingly good job of building suspense for about 80 minutes only to blow it during the climax stage of the narrative. Unfortunate really as what it started of as seemed like a masterclass in horror.
September 3, 2012
Cameron Sherwell

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • La casa del diablo (ES)
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