Thursday, August 25, 2011

House of the Devil

It's right next to the Catholic church on 4th street.

There are atmosphere movies and then there are atmosphere movies, and House of the Devil is one of those films that just has atmosphere coming out the wazoo. On the surface, this is a haunted house story with slasher film elements thrown in and is filmed in the style and very much made to feel like a movie from the late 70's or early 80's. And here the key to the frights are not blood and gore, but a slow build up of tension with just the right shocks to really jangle your nerves. It reminds me of the original Halloween and the way that that movie built it's tension.

As for the story, all I will say is that Samantha, a college student looking to earn some quick cash so she can rent an apartment, agrees to take a babysitting job out in the ssticks, on the night of a full moon. That's really all I will say about it because anything else I say will reveal too much. It's a movie that feels like a slippery slope argument. Because it's not just "Come out to the middle of nowhere to babysit on the night of a full moon and someone said they saw the devil nearby and oh, by the way, the phones don't work." Each level is a reasonable and seperately rationalizable action because the things that will happen just don't happen in our lives. I mean they happen, but they don't happen to us. So each step of eerieness seems silly to freak out over by itself, but when finally taken as a whole are "let's turn on the lights" scary.

There is one thing that I did not like about this movie and that is the opening text before the movie begins. It's that sort of informational "70% of Americans believed blah in the 80's" and "the following is based on true unexplained events". And while that sort of title was part of the style for movies of this sort during the 80's, I think it takes most of the punch out of the climax of the film. If you can skip past it without reading it, I think it makes for a far better film, but I can't say for sure since I can't unsee what I've already seen. But still, it is a phenomenal film.
Rating: A

1 comment:

  1. LOL! So, on my reader, whatever caption that you have on the picture comes over as the first line. That was perfect.