The House of the Devil

by on Jun.19, 2010, under Daily Review

I remember watching the trailer for this a while back and really didn’t like the look of it, but after hearing good things and especially the marketing ploy, releasing the film as a limited edition VHS, complete with big 80’s clam shell box, it sounded appealing.

Samantha (Jocelin Donahue) is eager to earn some fast cash, to more out of her student digs and away from her evil room-mate and find her own apartment. She phones an advert for a babysitter, but ends up being paid for more than she expected.

This is a beautiful looking film and a pure homage to the classics of the 80’s. Creepy peculiar characters, a regular situation which gets turned on its head, a crazy spooky house and a beautiful protagonist. Can’t really go wrong with that. Ti West, Director pays tribute to those that have gone before. Amityville, Omen, Black Christmas, Stranger Calls listing influence and placing this fine piece of cinema back into the horror cauldron. It’s unusual, but expected after the big push towards gorenography and all the recent remakes of 80’s classics this is perfect on track to step up to the mark with a slow burning character 80’s horror, which could possibly start a trend; one which I would welcome.

Donahue is a great choice in the lead role. She carries an 80’s vibe and has a mesmerizing presence and an innocence, which works well with the plot. Her career really should take off after this. Tom Noonan always spooks me out and here is no exception. Another perfect slice of casting is the inclusion of Dee Wallace who brings with her the pure spirit of the 80’s for me, from The Howling, ET and more recently Halloween.

Don’t expect gore. This not what it’s about. Great pace, atmosphere and a creeping feeling of dread and unnerving presence of something bad, which is about to happen at any moment. Also, hats off to the unconventional stunning finale.


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