THE HOUSE OF THE DEVILUnited States-95 Mins. 2009

Written and Directed by Ti West


Jocelin Donahue as Samantha

Tom Noonan as Mr. Ulman

Mary Woronov as Mrs. Ulman

Greta Gerwig as Megan

AJ Bowen as Victor Ulman

Dee Wallace as Landlady

When I watched The House of the Devil my “I have seen this before” brand of spidey-sense kicked in. I asked myself  “Where have I seen this kind of cinematography?” “Where have I seen that opening blurb about the film being based on a true story?” “Why does this movie seem so darn familiar?”

Then I realized the answer to all my questions: 1970’s horror movies. Films like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Amityville Horror used the ‘based on a true story’ blurb. Almost all the made-for-tv movies like Trilogy of Terror, Scream of the Wolf and Curse of the Black Widow used the 16mm camera effect. Was  I  watching a movie that was a complete rip-off of all those movies that I loved as a young man in the ’70’s? Well…no.

The House of the Devil is not a rip-off but a total homage to all those films. Director Ti West has captured the look and feel of that era so well that you may find yourself checking the DVD or Blu-Ray case to find out exactly what year the film was released.

The film is about a young girl who takes a job as a babysitter at a house owned by a mysterious couple who live out in the country. She soon realizes that it’s  not her skills as a babysitter that they are in need of. She is to be a part of a Satanic ritual that the family is a part of. Now, at this point I am pretty sure that most of my readers already realize that I am not going to tell them any more about what happens. What I will tell you is that if you love those old horror films from the 1970’s then this is a film for you. There is some gore in the film, but it is not overbearing and does not interfere with the retro feel that the film so lovingly achieves. The film relies more on thrills and less on the gross-out.

If you want to see a good horror film that doesn’t forget it’s roots then see The House of the Devil. If you don’t, well then, there’s always all those crappy remakes Hollywood shoves down our throats and up our asses every year.