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The House of the Devil
BLU-RAY disk
Feb 3, 2010 By: J.A. Hamilton
The House of the Devil order download
Director:
Ti West

Actors:
Jocelin Donahue
Greta Gerwig
Tom Noonan

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A dimwitted college chick takes a babysitting gig for a pack of freak shows living in a creepy old mansion unaware that they want to use her in a satanic ritual. I hope she got paid extra for that shit.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Im a horror buff, no question and most times I can handle the extra cheese that come atop these pizza pies (case in point Im also a big fan of eighties horror). At first glance I wasnt sold on HOUSE OF THE DEVIL, but looks can be deceiving and I hoped I was wrong. Problem is, I have pretty good instincts and despite the many colorful adjectives used on either side of the box to describe this film (like this film is based upon true and unexplained events) it in no way, shape or form is worthy of any hype.

Visually this felt like an eighties rompat times. The flare was present (dcor, clothing, the walkman and the phone cord was a nice touch) but the one thing they fail to capture is the mood which goes overboard if anything. Most times the scary old house theme is pushed with loads of suspense, cheap scares and fear. None of these things are present here and this creates quite a problem, especially if you want me to believe this is the house of the Devil. I can handle the fact that characters like Samantha are supposed to be somewhat clueless and make all the wrong decisions for plots sake, but some of this stuff is a real stretch. I mean they actually have a if these people seem sketchy we bail plan which is never executed despite how blatantly sketchy they are.

Poor Samantha is a classic throwaway character who you feel is doomed from the start, which is one of the other poor story decisions as the film doesnt try to make you feel otherwise. Her best friend was also quite worthless and in my opinion was just poorly written and action packed with clichs. The Ulman Family felt off, but weak at the same time (though I loved Tom Noonan in MANHUNTER and LAST ACTION HERO). There are countless other ways to get a victim into your house without the ploy of babysitting and youd think shed catch on after the explanation. Im big on details and love seeing satanic, magic or supernatural rituals or spells used in film, but the pulsating cam approach really killed my mood.

HOUSE OF THE DEVIL had potential but for some reason writer/director/editor Ti West just couldnt deliver what he wanted to do here and as a result this baby drags on a fair bit. Satanic rituals open up a vast many roads for storytelling and it bothers me that THIS was the best he could come up with in this day and age. Even the predictable ending was forgettable and again, lacking. Maybe I expect too much, but I dont believe this is the case. In my opinion people are getting lazy in the name of a buck and as such, we end up disappointed by shit like this. I know the horror genre is plagued by clichs and strict boundaries when it comes to suspension of disbelief but for the love of God go big or go the hell home.
THE EXTRAS
Deleted Scenes: These three scenes were useless; the first two being the same phone conversation between Sam and Amanda (shown from both perspectives) and the last one wasnt even worth mentioning.

In The House of the Devil: A quick run through the sets inside the house and around town. I dug the house (looked like a cross between the one from HELLRAISER and THE SKELETON KEY), but thats about it.

Behind The House of the Devil: Writer/director Ti West shares his horror mentors and explains his vision for breaking into the genre. I get what hes saying and agree wholeheartedly, problem is the end result was quite the opposite of what he wanted to create.

Previews: Have no fear there is also a trailer for the feature film. I know, I was excited too.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
This is not a return to eighties horror, far from it. This is a cheesy, boring wannabe in disguise that will have you yawning instead of screaming. I expected much more from the devils house, and it became painfully evident that if it WAS his house, he wasnt home.

Extra Tidbit: Ive seen drunk chicks performing Ouija board sances that were scarier than this.
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