Monday, October 10, 2016

31 Days of Spooky Movies: The House of the Devil

Day #7

The House of the Devil

It’s 1983 and in a desperate attempt to come up with some money a college sophmore takes a chance on a rather unusual babysitting job. However, things go from weird to straight up sketchy when she learns that the family has no kids and that something very suspicious is going on.

Fright Factor:
2 / 5  Discarded Pizzas

Gore Factor:
2.8 / 5  Lunatics

Should you watch it?

This is a really hard film for me to talk about, because there are so many things that I loved about it, but there’s also a fair bit that I just couldn’t get behind.

First and foremost the entire movie is shot in a 70s/80s horror style. And I don't mean that they simply make an homage to the movies of that era. I mean they straight-up shot it all on 16mm film and even use a number of film techniques of the era! It makes for such a intriguing blend of old and new. I mean, that alone makes it worth watching. But then they add a fantastic lead actress and some wonderfully tense slow-burn-style terror and this movie was just hitting all of my buttons.

However, there’s just a couple of things that ended up sticking in my craw:

  • The text at the beginning of the movie ruins any surprise you could have had about what’s going to happen at this babysitting job.
  • I very much didn’t like Tom Noonan’s character nor his performance. The character is practically an atmospheric black hole to any scene he’s in.
  • The ending is kind of dumb and doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. The film masterfully winds up all this creepy tension and then wastes so much of it with a subpar payoff.

So there you go. Overall, I’d say I loved about 90% of this movie. It’s a wonderfully original horror movie, not so much in its plot, but in its execution. And I think, if nothing else, it’s definitely worth giving a watch.

“Are you out of your mind? Do you remember the game plan? The game plan was, if they’re weird, we leave. This beyond weird. It’s mental. You know, they lied to you. They lied to you.”

“I know, okay.”

“They’re liars.”

“I know, I know. You’re right. But it’s $400. It’s $400 for four hours. This equals first month’s rent and then some, and all I have to do is sit inside and watch TV. It’s too good to be true.”

“Did you ever think it IS too good to be true?”

“Megan, please. I need the money.”

“It’s so stupid. It’s SO stupid.”

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