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08.23.2017
House Of The Devil, The (2009)
Movie Review by The Mortician
08.24.14

House Of The Devil, The (2009) Director Ti West homages late 70's/early 80's slow burn horror movies (think WHEN A STRANGER CALLS) in this slow but creepy and clever movie. He even sets the HOUSE OF THE DEVIL in the 1980's, and as the opening title card reveals, in an "era where America was obsessed with Satanic cults..." The plot is very simple: hot college student Jocelin Donahue (and man I wish she would've showed some skin in this flick!) is looking for extra money to rent an apartment of her own (from Dee Wallace, in a cameo as the Landlady). All over campus, there's fliers posted up asking for a babysitter and Jocelin inquires about the job and accepts it. Her slutty cute friend (played by shapely Greta Gerwig) drives her out to a house in the country where she'll be doing the babysitting, and well, from there...things go to hell in a handbasket, Ti West style, in slow motion. First of all, the folks she's doing the babysitting for are none other than the spooky couple of Tom (MANHUNTER-The Red Dragon Dude!) Noonan and cult favorite Mary (EATING RAOUL) Woronov, and if that isn't the casting coup of the first decade of the 2000's, then what the hell is?!?! This bland...suspicious...and strange couple have a lot more in store for Jocelin than she ever would anticipate from a simple babysitting job. The movie is framed around a lunar eclipse that is happening at midnight and the less you know about things from there, the better your first view of this film will be. HOUSE moves at a snail's pace but it's the acting...the story...the revelations that Jocelin makes while babysitting...and the execution of it all that makes this movie so fun to watch. It's genuinely intense and scary throughout, and if you watch it late at night with the lights out and let the atmosphere of doom get under your skin, you'll feel the chill run up your spine. When Noonan and Woronov explode in rage with their agenda, well, let's just say, it does NOT disappoint. All in all, I had a great time with this movie and it gets better with repeat views, which is quite rare for a 'modern made' horror movie (for this viewer, anyway). The ending is a bit out there in space and nonsensical, but when you think about the movies West is saluting, it ultimately makes sense and is quite satisfying. HOUSE OF THE DEVIL is a surprisingly fun little movie with a lot to offer horror fans that prefer atmosphere, dread, and weird characters over torture and gore---although there is some of that peppered throughout the movie. Highly recommended.

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