Comments on watching and making films.

Monday, March 29, 2010

DVD - The House of the Devil

There is a new generation of filmmakers that have been trying to ape many of the 1970's and 80's "classics" of the genre, from well known slashers to B-movie video store shelf jockey's. The majority of the time, I'm positive these filmmakers have the best of intentions, but all too often, they end up wearing there inspirations on their sleeves, and making less than inspiring films. Ti West's latest, The House of the Devil, is the only film I've ever seen that actually gets the look and the feel of that era dead on.

Jocelin Donahue plays Samantha, a college student who wants to move into her own apartment and get away from her over sexed dorm roommate. She finds the place of her dreams, but has no idea how she's going to come up with the deposit, AND the first months rent. Upon returning to her dorm, after looking at the apartment one last time, she finds a notice for a babysitting job, and calls the number. She's lead to the Ullman household, a creepy Victorian style mini mansion, housed deep in the woods. With her best friend in tow (played by Greta Gerwig), Samantha meets the incredibly creepy Mr. and Mrs. Ullman, and finds out they haven't told her the complete truth. There is no baby to watch over, but, in fact, it is their mother. Samantha is worried about this, and tries to back out, but when Mr. Ullman waves 400 dollars in her face, she accepts. After all, all she has to do is sit there for a few hours. She doesn't even need to check on the woman, unless she hears something go wrong. But things aren't what they seem in the Ullman house, and Samantha is soon to find out that she's not there to watch anyone.

House of the Devil is classic, old school, horror. It is a slow burn, with climactic moments spread throughout the film, and an ending that's so crazy it will leave the TRUE fan of movies from that era very satisfied. Donahue is perfect as the shy, understated lead, an innocent who simply wants to make enough money to move into her own place, to be her own woman. Gerwig delivers well, for how little of the movie she's actually in, and Tom Noonan and Mary Woronov are significantly creepy as the Ullman's. Ti West has a real victory on his hands with this film, which is something I never thought I'd say about some one who's previous film was Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever. If he keeps making films like this, I'll watch.

No comments: