Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Amazon Season 3 Pilots Ranked Best to Worst: Whit Stillman & Steven Soderbergh Compete for Your Votes Amazon Season 3 Pilots Ranked Best to Worst: Whit Stillman & Steven Soderbergh Compete for Your Votes Telluride Review: Benedict Cumberbatch Carries Uneven WWII Drama 'The Imitation Game' Telluride Review: Benedict Cumberbatch Carries Uneven WWII Drama 'The Imitation Game' Telluride Review: Nick Broomfield's Powerful 'Tales of the Grim Sleeper' Puts a Serial Killer in Unique Light Telluride Review: Nick Broomfield's Powerful 'Tales of the Grim Sleeper' Puts a Serial Killer in Unique Light Vote for Project of the Week: Will It Be 'Power of Love,' 'Song the Zombie Sang,' 'Florence' or 'Kitty's 9 Lives'? Vote for Project of the Week: Will It Be 'Power of Love,' 'Song the Zombie Sang,' 'Florence' or 'Kitty's 9 Lives'? Review: ‘The Two Faces of January,’ Starring Oscar Isaac and Viggo Mortensen, Is Not Your Typical Patricia Highsmith Adaptation Review: ‘The Two Faces of January,’ Starring Oscar Isaac and Viggo Mortensen, Is Not Your Typical Patricia Highsmith Adaptation Venice Review: Al Pacino Excels in Barry Levinson's Otherwise Troubled 'The Humbling' Venice Review: Al Pacino Excels in Barry Levinson's Otherwise Troubled 'The Humbling' Venice Review: South Korea Gets a Firm Critique (As Does the World) in Kim Ki-Duk's 'One on One' Venice Review: South Korea Gets a Firm Critique (As Does the World) in Kim Ki-Duk's 'One on One' Telluride Review: Reese Witherspoon Finds Nature, Catharsis in the Sentimental 'Wild' Telluride Review: Reese Witherspoon Finds Nature, Catharsis in the Sentimental 'Wild' 7 Reasons ‘Party Down’ Is Your Next Must-See Series (That You’ve Hopefully Already Seen) 7 Reasons ‘Party Down’ Is Your Next Must-See Series (That You’ve Hopefully Already Seen) Review: 'Intruders' on BBC America Finds Suspense in Interwoven Stories, But Loses It in Action Review: 'Intruders' on BBC America Finds Suspense in Interwoven Stories, But Loses It in Action Watch: Mira Sorvino on Speaking 5 Languages, Comedy and Her Role in BBC America's Drama Series 'Intruders' Watch: Mira Sorvino on Speaking 5 Languages, Comedy and Her Role in BBC America's Drama Series 'Intruders' Watch: Terry Gilliam and Ralph Steadman Get Animated In Exclusive Clips from Johnny Depp-Starring 'For No Good Reason' Watch: Terry Gilliam and Ralph Steadman Get Animated In Exclusive Clips from Johnny Depp-Starring 'For No Good Reason' SnagFilms Free Movie of the Week: Skateboarding Brings Peace to Afghanistan in 'Skateistan' SnagFilms Free Movie of the Week: Skateboarding Brings Peace to Afghanistan in 'Skateistan' Watch: The Trailer for Cannes-Winning 'Leviathan' Paints a Powerful Portrait of Modern Russia Watch: The Trailer for Cannes-Winning 'Leviathan' Paints a Powerful Portrait of Modern Russia Watch: Trailer for 'Time is Illmatic' is a Moving Look at Acclaimed Rapper Nas' Life Watch: Trailer for 'Time is Illmatic' is a Moving Look at Acclaimed Rapper Nas' Life

A Wet Dream For Horror Fans: Ti West's "House of The Devil"

Photo of Eric Kohn By Eric Kohn | Indiewire April 30, 2009 at 5:31AM

Ti West's "The House of the Devil" is a wet dream for horror fans, but that should not limit its audience. The classical structure slowly builds tension before erupting into a decisively gory finish, harkening back to a smarter and more nuanced era of spooky storytelling. West's last feature, the highly experimental "Trigger Man," challenged audiences to remain patient for roughly half the running time before the aimless plot gave way to a massive slaughterfest. "Devil" also takes its time, but maintains a delightfully creepy aura throughout, while also functioning equally well as a low key study of youth alienation.
1

Ti West's "The House of the Devil" is a wet dream for horror fans, but that should not limit its audience. The classical structure slowly builds tension before erupting into a decisively gory finish, harkening back to a smarter and more nuanced era of spooky storytelling. West's last feature, the highly experimental "Trigger Man," challenged audiences to remain patient for roughly half the running time before the aimless plot gave way to a massive slaughterfest. "Devil" also takes its time, but maintains a delightfully creepy aura throughout, while also functioning equally well as a low key study of youth alienation.

West's leading lady, the talented Jocelin Donahue, plays Samantha, a young college student strapped for cash. Thanks to the efforts of her upbeat friend (Greta Gerwig), Samantha lands a babysitter gig at an ancient mansion in the woods. The job, however, turns out to be a lot crazier than she expected. The eerie man responsible for hiring her (Tom Noonan, appropriately deadpan) admits he has no kids, only a strangely absent mother. His real motives don't emerge until the fast-paced finale, allowing the aura to toy around with the viewers' imagination.

As Samantha wanders around the vacant mansion, West develops a constant sense of dread, which forces us to pay close attention to the character, grow comfortable with her -- and worry for her safety. (As Satanic worshipping creeps into the story, that becomes a reasonable concern.) West's style culls from the vibe of late 1980s horror (and subtly sets the movie in that period), but it's his authentic filmmaking skill that makes "Devil" such an enthralling experience. Unlike the miscalculation of "Grindhouse," West's movie relies less on homage than on narrative refinement. His unseen sequel to Eli Roth's "Cabin Fever" lies on Lionsgate's cutting room floor, but "Devil" indicates the director will continue to churn out top-notch work.

This article is related to: New York, Reviews