THE HOUSE OF THE DEVIL (2009)
If you want to get a true feeling for the style and tempo of late 1970s to early 1980s horror, look no further than director and writer Ti West’s THE HOUSE OF THE DEVIL. The film takes place circa 1983, and West gets as close to an authentic reproduction of then-contemporary film production and realistic recreation of the era as you’re likely to see in the modern age.
The set design and attention to detail is simply breathtaking in its normalcy. That pizzeria used to be up the street from you. Your parents used to watch that local UHF news report. That walkman Samantha listens to is in your attic right now collecting dust. And the crown jewel, the titular house is a maze-like labyrinth of rooms, hallways and staircases that sits on the outskirts of town that you were in once, and just once.
But for all this dedication to authentic reproduction, is the actual movie any good? The answer is a resounding yes, with West going well beyond proving to the audience that he has done his film history homework. But for all of the technical aspects that West pieces together from the weaving of light and shadow letting the viewer fill the voids to the proclamation that the film is based on “true and unexplained events”, it is Jocelin Donahue as Samantha that must be given praise for the film’s success.
THE HOUSE OF THE DEVIL provides chills, thrills and goosebumps in the most traditional sense that a horror film can provide. It is certainly not for all, and will best serve those that are looking for a little more substance than just blood and guts dripping down the screen for ninety minutes.