Horror Review: The House Of The Devil (2009)

Desperate to make some money so she can move into a new apartment, a college student takes a mysterious babysitting job.

All these years later and I still adore that one sheet, it matches the films tone perfectly and it’s simplicity is just stunning.

It was because of that poster that I was drawn to this film, that simpleness and minimalism of it just screamed out to me, talk about appealing. I do love it when that happens as it’s a rarity these days that that happens to me, I wish studios would start putting their focus back into the one sheet, it truly is a dying art.
The posters design is just a small piece of the puzzle to this film, now your drawn in the feature has to deliver and deliver it does. Certain people will say that this film never truly ‘delivers’, sure it’s not full of action packed sequences or a bunch of quotable one liners but it delivers with its slow burning story and beautiful visuals.
As the film progresses the tension steadily builds, it has such an uncomfortable atmosphere, blend that in with some of the best cinematography I’ve seen in the last ten years and not only have you got an amazing Horror film, you’ve got a Horror film with style, a somewhat classy Horror that is proud to be what it is.
The feature is a true throwback, if I hadn’t of known any better when I first saw it I would’ve thought I’d stumbled across a lost 70’s/80’s gem. I never have understood why his film wasn’t a big hit, it certainly deserved to be. It’s an homage to a much simpler time, it doesn’t rush itself and just lets the story flow, as it should do. I hope films of this style are the next trend in Horror, I can only hope.
“The House Of The Devil” is certainly not for everyone, especially those with short attention spans, but if you love a good story then you’re in for a treat.
If you want to see “The House Of The Devil” trailer then just click on the video below:

Miscellaneous facts about the film:

Promotionally released on VHS in a clamshell box. The last major motion picture released in that format was A History of Violence (2005).

Shot on 16mm film (very popular in the 80s) to give it a retro stylistic look.

Deliberately shot in the same kind of style and using similar techniques as the splatter films of the 70s and the 80s which it emulates.

The film that Samantha watches on TV whilst babysitting is George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead (1968), a film in the public domain so the film-makers didn’t have to pay rights to use it.

Shot over a period of only 18 days.

Most of the crew were locally sourced from Connecticut where the film was shot to help keep the costs down to under a million dollars.

When Samantha orders a pizza, the pizza guy asks if she wants a pizza with extra anchovies. This is a very subtle nod to the Patrick Dempsey comedy, Loverboy (1989). The extra anchovies reference in that film meant that the delivery boy would be delivering a lot more than pizzas.

The camera frequently zooms in on characters – one of the techniques that were highly favored in the 80s. Nowadays they would have been most likely to dolly in instead.

The titular house was infested with ladybugs, some of which can be seen in some of the shots.

The film is purportedly based on true events but the events it supposedly depicts are never mentioned in the film or in any of its press releases.

We can assume that the film is set in 1983 as one of the songs featured is “One Thing Leads to Another” by The Fixx.

Samantha’s Sony Walkman was used in the film to fit the 80’s nostalgia theme. Walkmans were audio cassette playing boxes, and their convenient and portable function made them really popular with young people in the 80’s and even up until the early 2000’s before MP3 players and iPod’s became so mainstream.

Samantha uses a phone and dials 911. On the phone it list a phone number that is not a famous movie “555” number, it looks like an actual phone number.

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