New VHS of the Week: The House Of The Devil
From the director of Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever comes a movie that does not suck! Unlike anything from the director of Cabin Fever.
This movie takes place in the early 1980s which is obvious by the mom jeans early on in the film. For a low budget period piece it does a good job of making it feel like the time, coming off realistic rather then overly fake. Though I guess actual music from the time was out of the budget since most of it is made up of bands that sort of sound like they are from that time, but for the few actual musical cews this movie has it works. The score for the most part is very important in this scare fest.
The movies running time is only an hour and a half, and those of you looking for Saw like style of movie or need a jump every 3 minutes to unsure a proper change of pants by the end of the movie better stay well away from this movie. For the most part the movie is just one long build up of suspense, and in that respect its very effective.
The basic plot is that a young college girl (Samantha played by Jocelin Donahue) strapped for cash takes a babysitting job out in the middle of nowhere Connecticut. When she arrives at the house with her friend things do not feel right. I mean when NOOOONAN!!! *say it like Seinfeld* opens the door you know your pretty much screwed.
After Samantha is dropped off by her friend we spend the next 40 suspense filled minutes with her wondering around this big house as she slowly discovers that things are not as they seem. This movie would have failed if the lead role had not been as effective as she is. We by her naiveté, and when shit goes down she does not play the complete screaming idiot we’ve grown to see in so many horror films.
When the bad things start to happen they play out in a very effective manner. The movie does a great job at keeping the audience at bay, there is only one shot leading up to the final scene letting us know what is in store. So when it does happen it is a shock. This is not a movie with twist are anything, you can tell where the movie is going. Its all the build up and not knowing exactly what is going to happen, and when it does you will be surprised.
I would like to note the sound design of this film, it should have gotten second credit. The use of strings got me very on edge. Also the sound in general was great for a low budget film like this, usually horror movies sound like garbage, this one made my surround sound work. Also the choice of Connecticut for its location, while they say its based off of true events who knows if that is true. But I used to live in Connecticut and it is a truely scary place, there is just something off about it. The last horror movie shot there that I know was the original The Stepford Wives.
This was a surprisingly effective little horror film. It’s nice to see some American directors taking a note from the European horror play book. During parts of the commentary I listened to, I heard the director (Ti West) mention the auteur nature of this film, while yes it is a little douchey to sit around and call your own film auteur but that is sort of what this horror film is. While Ti West has yet to be proven as an auteur, if he keeps making films like this he is well on his way.
Get ready for these to make a comeback: