The House of the Devil

Critics Consensus

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.

87%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 97

63%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 55,752
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Movie Info

Sam 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 no baby. Mr. and Mrs. Ulman are the older couple who lure Sam out to their creeky Victorian mansion deep in the woods, just in time for a total lunar eclipse. Megan 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 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.

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Critic Reviews for The House of the Devil

All Critics (97) | Top Critics (24)

Audience Reviews for The House of the Devil

  • Aug 21, 2016
    Simple plot. Less but engaging characters. A heavy, eerie ambience. A good revisited, grainy throwback that will take its to time to show its "claws" that precisely went down to slash-and-scratch into the right direction. When it gets there, it does infact shoots up sheer terror to the extreme --- without even breaking the tension build ups. Tho there were some unnecessary scenes in the movie that if deleted, it wouldn't change a thing. It could potentially be a short slow-burn craft than elongating the movement of the character(s) doing stuffs. On the contrary, it is a movie that's worth the watch but not as much as worth the wait.
    John Ross D Super Reviewer
  • Jun 20, 2015
    See The House of the Devil as soon as you can. It's really good from start to finish and has such a captivating atmosphere and level of suspense throughout, its so unsettling. Paying homage to the "satanic panic" that ran rife through the States in the eighties the film seems snuff-like in its level of dirty, gritty terror and fear as it documents the story of a beautiful teenager struggling with money, who is tempted into the a tangled web of serial killings and a satanic ritual centering around peculiar lunar activity after simply seeing an ad for a babysitter needed. The performances are good and its really hard not to grow attached to the likeable and ill-fated plucky protagonist and her best friend who manages for the most-part to avoid the horrors of the night, sort of... It resonates of Rosemary's Baby clashing silently with The Amityville Horror, Virgin Witch and The Omen. The best thing about the film is the retro aspect in which it is filmed (there are opening credits and they're in yellow font, its shot in 16mm) but isnt afraid of blending elements of the eighties, seventies and sixties with the concepts and conventions of the horror we have become so familiar with in the past decade. It's terribly dark and isnt afraid of mounting our suspense before having the train completely jump the tracks for the final act. I rarely give five stars to things that I've only watched once, but I can't think of a single thing wrong with The House of the Devil. It's one of the best horror films I've ever seen and I couldn't look away until it was over.
    Harry W Super Reviewer
  • Nov 16, 2013
    This is everything a good horror film should be. It's well-paced, well-written and so suspenseful I could hardly look at the screen near the end of the film. It builds extremely slowly so if you require predictable action or slasher-style pacing (i.e. someone murdered in an elaborate way at regular intervals) you will likely be bored by this film. The characters are actually represented as intelligent and aware of what's happening around them and that's a huge step for this type of horror film. Also, the way this is shot as if it occurred in the late 70s - mid 80s is brilliant and extremely convincing.
    Brandon R Super Reviewer
  • Aug 03, 2013
    Ti West achieves some big strides with his horror film "The House of the Devil". For being released in 2009, West does an expert job in making the film feel like it's from the 80's, in film quality and set pieces. There's nothing wrong with the performance from Jocelin Donahue, as Sam, who wanders the house in true horror genre fashion but the rest of the cast suffers, especially Greta Gerwig, whose lines tend to come from nowhere and hit misplaced every time. Tom Noonan's performance is muddled with over exaggeration, and in doing so, loses all subtly, becoming a caricature of a creepy home owner. Another problem West strikes is the uneven nature of the action. "The House of the Devil" is a very quiet film and although this helps with the unease created for the audience, there is very little payoff. The audience expects spooks from time to time and instead, West keeps all of the surprises for the end, meaning 75 minutes into the plot, you've experienced very little actual scares. West leans on gore as a crutch and despite the quality of the make-up, the gore screams unnecessary. Had West been able to produce more visceral scares and spread them evenly throughout the film, "The House of the Devil" could have been a much more memorable film. Instead, it remains an average horror flick, successfully visually produced, but lacking in many of the surrounding areas.
    Christopher H Super Reviewer

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