The House of the Devil Reviews
Set in the 80s, we follow a young sophomore named Samantha who recently bought a new apartment. Needing money for the first deposit, she accepts a babysitting job located in the middle of nowhere but little does she know that night will change her life.
Out of all the horror subgenres, demons/possession films are the ones I try to avoid due to its limited creative possibilities and the fact that the recent additions have been more than lackluster for my taste ("Devil's Due", "The Devil Inside", "The Exorcism of Emily Rose", "Dominion/Exorcist the Beginning", "Ouija", etc), but I do love "The Exorcist", "Rosemary's Baby" and "The Omen", so when people described this film as a fantastic homage to those films I decided to give it a chance (plus you have Tom Noonan in here) and I have to say I was extremely disappointed. "Th House of the Devil" is a extremely peculiar horror film, as it has good ideas and a more than confident director in charge (it reminds me of "You're Next" which shared cast members and had a cameo by this film's director, Ti West) but it is all limited/destroyed by the script. The film is made as an homage to those cult/possession films from the late 60s to the mid 70s but at the same time it tries to merge the old fashioned haunted house thus taking away all the tension. Being limited to a cliched location, you don't have anything to be afraid of, this isn't "Rosemary's Baby" where you don't know what/who to trust or "The Omen" where you don't know what is going to happen next, this is just a chick walking around a house (or even dancing) and therefore throwing every horror cliché possible. I know the point of the film is the buildup and it's payoff but the buildup is poorly executed (West tried and failed to follow the steps of Hitchcock) and the payoff is short, cliched and even campy.
"The House of the Devil" is a stylish and well made homage of the late 60s to mid 70s possession films, but it lacks an identity. Due to major pacing issues, predictable/barely basic screenplay and its location limitations, this film drags and will possibly bore you if you are well versed on the horror genre. A confidently made film that is ultimately generic and forgettable.
"Stranger Things" (TV show)
"Wet Hot American Summer"
The list goes on, but I don't want to be here all day. Yeah, it's cool seeing this film or music from the 80's there as the scene plays out. But why do I have this feeling that it's only there because the creator or director wants it there just because he likes that movie or song. The same goes with the setting and the feel that I think is missing in these homages. It just doesn't feel like it's the 80's, even if you throw in the endless references and throw backs.
But then you get a film like "The House of the Devil" that went out of it's way to look and feel like one. It's seriously impressive of the amount of effort and detail that Ti West puts in this. It's the reason why I think "The House of the Devil" stands out from the rest in terms of what it's going for that others try to do. It's more than a homage, it's the real thing.
Now Ti West can be a hit or miss for me. I either like or dislike he's movies. I do respect the guy for doing different projects and tackling themes in movie. I mean, sure, it's nothing new for directors tackling different themes, but for some reason I always keep an eye out for what Ti West dose next. And in "House of the Devil" Ti West brings a very slow burn movie that uses it's homages fittingly in it's film making. He demands you to be patient for what the movie is building up to and doesn't shy away from doing so. It was filmed with 16mm film, giving it a retro stylistic look that matched the decade, which actually did match the decade quite well. Now this what I like to see from Ti West and I can take this as a heavy reminder why this guy is a talented film maker even at a young age.
But what stops "House of the Devil" from being a great movie for me is it's pasting issues. And I know the movie is building up to it's creepy climax as I said before, but it dose take awhile to get there. I found myself kinda bored with some scenes that seem to drag on a bit. I guess you got to have good patience, which I'm 50/50 on me.
While I praise the film for getting the 80's look and feel right visually, but not quite on the audio or sound. Have you ever noticed in 80's movies where the sound of objects, doors and guns firing sound like 80's audio. How awesome would it be if that was included here. This may be a small complaint, but hey, every little detail can make a big difference.
Overall rating: "The House of the Devil" may not be everyone's type of film, just judging by the mix feedback from other people. But for my experience, I enjoyed what I've seen, even if it feels short.