When skint student Samantha (Jocelyn Donahue) is offered a lucrative babysitting job she sees it as an opportunity to get some much needed cash for her new home. Even though things are a little
strange she reluctantly accepts the job at the home of creepy Mr & Mrs Ulman (Tom Noonan & Mary Woronov). Even the lack of a baby and a lunar eclipse doesn’t put her off. She sees her worried friend Megan (Greta Gerwig) off and settles in for a night of T.V and pizza. Easy money -- or so she thought!
Set in the 1980’s The House of the Devil captures the mood of the time, I had my hopes built, I was gonna see old school horror and I was gonna be blown away. Not the case! I could see that the first 70 minutes was there to build the tension and it was almost right. Problem is, if I was in a creepy house, scared by strange noises, the last thing I would do is put my walkman on full blast and dance around the house. It’s just not normal! What if someone were there?! You’d never hear them coming! Of course, that was the idea, but instead of being fraught with nerves, I was sat thinking ‘how stupid is that?!’ And any empathy I had with Samantha was lost; she just ended up annoying the hell out of me instead. Although a refreshingly good actress who definitely played her role admirably Jocelyn Donahue was held back by the slow pace and the daft decisions her character made.
The ending is half decent -- or is it? Maybe it just seems half decent because the rest is so dull. There is blood, that’s for sure. And a bathtub with hair in it, yes that’s right, this is meant to scare the bejesus out of you, I’m not ashamed to say that it doesn’t work. There’s sinister happenings in the Ulman’s home which mean Samantha is gonna have to fight for her life. I’m pretty sure that young horror fans are gonna be quite impressed with this film if they survive the first 70 minutes. But real horror connoisseurs are gonna feel let down. I didn’t Hate The House of the Devil but after those tempting promises on the box, I’d be a liar if I didn’t admit to being disappointed when the end credits rolled.
THE HOUSE OF THE DEVIL (2009). Writer/Director: Ti West. Cast: Jocelin Noonan, Tom Noonan, Mary Woronov, Greta Gerwig, A J Bowen.
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