Thursday, March 11, 2010

House of the Devil

Ok, I am trying to get back on track with my reviews, sorry folks. So I first heard of this film when I saw it was playing at the Music Box in chicago. The first thing I noticed was the poster and how it looked like it was some european 80's horror movie. Everything has that 'vintage' look, the painted poster, the cheesy tag line, even the credits at the bottom look old school. My first thought was that 'hey maybe this is some old horror film thats getting re released or something'. Much to my surprise when I looked it up on IMDB the movie was made in 2009. The poster pretty much sets the pace for the film. Its a film that has the look and feel of a classic 80's horror gem.

The movie begins with a sophomore in college named Samantha getting a new apartment that is out of her price range. Queue opening credits that simply put are awesome. I mean its nothing special but its completely vintage in feel. Even the music sounds like it was done by The Goblins who did the soundtracks to Dawn of the Dead, Susperia, etc. So this leaves Samantha in a predicament, she needs to get $800 by Monday so she can pay her deposit for the new place. While walking around campus she finds a flyer for a babysitting job. She then calls and inquires but gets an answering machine. Seconds later she gets a call on the payphone from this creepy man saying he wanted her to babysit. Mr Ulman (creepy guy) then tells her that he will pick her up on campus immediately. So right from the get go there is this extremely creepy vibe about this guy. He is played none other than Tom Noonan (Montersquad, Robocop 2, Manhunter). The man fails to show and Samantha becomes irritated. He later calls her back and says that the first girl 'didnt work out' and is desperate and they needed someone immediately. Needing the money Samantha agrees and has her friend take her to their house.

Their house is deep in the woods with not much else around. They get to the house and Samantha's friend says she will go in with her to make sure everything is ok. So they meet Mr. Ulman who is at least 6'6 and very quite and seemingly nice but creepy. He sits down with the girls and begins to talk with them. Mr Ulman begins to talk about how there is an eclipse tonight and how this area has the best view in the world of it. Samantha then asks if he is an astrologer and he breaks eye contact and softly replies 'No...not exactly'. He then pulls Samantha aside and says that he lied a little about the job. Mr Ulman then informs Samantha that he doesn't have any kids, she would be babysitting his wifes elderly mother. He then tells her he will pay whatever and after some reluctance she accepts (after demanding to be paid $400).

Samantha's friend then leaves and Samantha is left there all alone. Mr Ulman informed Samantha that his mother in law likes to be left alone and doesn't actually need any help but just have her there just in case something were to happen. Samantha then starts to explore this dark older house. This is where the movie starts to really pick up, the way Ti West directs really makes you feel that you are in the house with Samantha and you start to get scared with her every move. I dont want to give too much away but the strongest part of the movie in my opinion was how scary/creepy it was. I cant remember really the last movie that really gave me the willies like this AND was from America. Hopefully this is a good sign of things to come and apparently Ti West has a couple of more movies in the pipeline.

Overall Score: A-