The House of the Devil [Blu-ray] product details page

The House of the Devil [Blu-ray]

The House of the Devil [Blu-ray]
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Reviewer:Josh Ralske, The House of the Devil is a wonderfully witty and creepy throwback horror movie. Writer-director-editor Ti West sets just the right tone, with the movie's fashions, soundtrack, and freeze-frame-and-zoom-laden style generating an amusing frisson of recognition. West pays homage to the horror classics of the 1970s and '80s, casting a couple of cult icons (Mary Woronov and Tom Noonan) as oddball antagonists, while taking his slow burn of a story and his heroine's plight with commendable seriousness. Greta Gerwig demonstrates range in a funny feathered-hair performance. Relative newcomer Jocelin Donahue is given a heavy burden in the movie, because if we didn't identify with and care about Samantha, it could have been a chore to sit through. She comes through with a deceptively nuanced and engaging performance. The tension is on a low boil for much of the movie. One hears complaints in certain quarters about the pace of Ti West's film, and there's no doubt that as real scares go, there's a lot more running time devoted to the setup than to the payoff. But that's West's style, and it works here. He takes a very deliberate approach. As in horror classics like Rosemary's Baby and Last House on the Left, the filmmaker allows us to spend some time with these characters. He builds up a bit of mystery before showing us their unpleasant fate. This, along with West's obvious visual finesse, makes the film a much richer experience than most contemporary horror films. If you don't get a kick out of watching doomed babysitter Samantha put on that portable cassette player and dance around that creepy house to the strains of the Fixx's &"One Thing Leads to Another," you might need a course in Horror Appreciation 101. ~ Josh Ralske, Rovi

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