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The House of the Devil (2009)

  Tags: AJ Bowen, Brenda Cooney, Constructovision, cult, Dark Sky Films, Dee Wallace, Glass Eye Pix, Greta Gerwig, Heather Robb, house of the devil, Jocelin Donahue, John Speredakos, RingTheJing Entertainment, Ti West, VOD

Your rating: None Average: 5.6 (5 votes)
Reviewer Rating: 

Rating #: 
Ti West
95 minutes
AJ Bowen, Greta Gerwig, Jocelin Donahue, Dee Wallace, John Speredakos, Heather Robb, Brenda Cooney

House of the Devil is a film that I really wanted to like -- writer/director Ti West successfully captured an 80's look and 70's feel for the flick, but that's sadly pretty much all the movie really has to offer. It's essentially a movie that's all atmosphere and nothing else. The story is quite simple and reminiscent of another recent indie effort called Babysitter Wanted, which I actually enjoyed quite a bit.

We follow the desperate college sophomore, Samantha, as she decides to phone about a babysitting gig from an ad she saw around campus. In need of the money, she accepts the job, despite it being in the middle of nowhere (naturally). Thinking it would be a simple task, she gets her friend Megan (Greta Gerwig) to drive her to the isolated home.

The two are greeted by a strange tall man (Tom Noonan), who soon reveals to the would-be babysitter that it isn't a child she's looking after, but the man's fragile old mother. Hesitant at first, but reality quickly sets in that she's in dire need of the extra money, so she accepts. What Samantha doesn't realize is that she will soon be the key to a Satanic ritual that's to be held later that night during the lunar eclipse.

The premise sounds intriguing enough, but the movie isn't as exciting as the story makes it out to be. For the first 30-or-so-minutes we're introduced to the key characters, then I expected the pacing to shift once the lead enters the home for the babysitting job -- ah, not quite. Instead, we're given about 25-minutes of the girl randomly walking around the house, opening shelves, doors, listening to music, and sitting on the couch.

Occasionally we're given a few creeks or stomping around, letting us know that the girl is still babysitting the woman (whom we never see by the way). It's not until the last 15-20-minutes that we're finally introduced to the ritual aspect of the movie and the pacing FINALLY changes. By this time, however, the film would have likely lost the viewers interest, which is exactly what happened to me.

The acting is decent and there's a nice bloody death half-way through the flick, but it's incredibly abrupt. We don't get anything else in terms of violence or gore until the last bits of the movie, since we're too busy following the babysitter as she does nothing but walk around the house and bore herself to death. It's not a good sign when the viewer is just as bored as the character they're watching.

Like I said before, I really wanted to like the movie, but I couldn't. It's hard to like a movie that really doesn't offer anything to the viewer. It has a nice retro look and is atmospheric at times, but nothing is developed and the pacing doesn't change at all. Then we're suddenly thrown this ritual towards the end and what should have happened a long time ago finally happens in the last 15 minutes. Unless you want a really slow paced movie with a lot of walking around and opening random doors, I'd recommend skipping this.

Posted on November 8, 2009 - 11:32pm | FrighT MasteR