Friday, January 16, 2015

House of the Devil ***

Some movies win you over in the first five minutes.  The House of the Devil opens with stylized tracking shot following a pretty coed as 1980s John Carpenter style synth music plays in the background.  Suddenly, you're back in 1984!  Director Ti West crafted a fine homage to 1980s horror movies.  

Desperate for money, college sophomore Samantha (Jocelin Donahue) accepts a babysitting job for a strange family, the sort who appear wholesome in the surface, but are hiding something dark.  Although she's a little weirded out, they offer her a nice paycheck. A terrifying night ensues for poor Samantha.  Greta Gerwig appears as her chatty best friend.

Unlike modern horror film which prefer to shock and go right for the jugular, The House of the Devil takes it time and gradually builds up the tension.  In the final 15 minutes all hell breaks loose.

From time to time I listen to horror movie podcasts and in their discussions all point to the 70s and 80s as the high point of horror cinema. I'm inclined to agree.  Today, it's harder to shock people.  Horror at it's best makes the audience feel a sense of dread and in that department The House of the Devil succeeds.  It's a fun ride.

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