THE HOUSE OF THE DEVIL

BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELL
AUGUST 3, 2013

Ti West achieves some significant strides with his horror film “The House of the Devil.” For being released in 2009, West does an expert job making the film feel like it’s from the ’80s, in film quality and set pieces. There’s nothing wrong with Jocelin Donahue’s performance as Sam, who wanders the house in true horror genre fashion. Still, the rest of the cast suffers, especially Greta Gerwig, whose lines tend to come from nowhere and hit misplaced every time. Tom Noonan’s muddled performance with over-exaggeration, and in doing so, loses all subtly, becoming a caricature of a creepy homeowner. Another problem West strikes is the uneven nature of the action.

“The House of the Devil” is a tranquil film, and although this helps with the unease created for the audience, there is no payoff. The audience expects spooks from time to time, and instead, West keeps all of the surprises for the end, meaning 75 minutes into the plot, you’ve experienced minimal actual scares. West leans on gore as a crutch, and despite the make-up’s quality, the gore screams unnecessary. Had West been able to produce more visceral scares and spread them evenly throughout the film, “The House of the Devil” could have been a much more memorable film. Instead, it remains an average horror flick, successfully visually produced, but lacking in many surrounding areas.

RELEASE DATE
October 30, 2009

DIRECTOR
Ti West

WRITTEN BY
Ti West

STUDIO
Magnet Releasing

R
(for some bloody violence)

HORROR
MYSTERY

95 minutes

CINEMATOGRAPHER
Eliot Rockett

COMPOSER
Jeff Grace

EDITOR
Ti West

CAST
Jocelin Donahue
Tom Noonan
Mary Woronov
Greta Gerwig
A. J. Bowen
Dee Wallace

PRODUCED BY
Josh Braun
Roger Kass
Larry Fessenden
Peter Phok

BUDGET
$900,000

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