Spooktober Movie Review: The House of The Devil (2009)

What is The House of The Devil?

In the 1980s, college student Samantha Hughes takes a strange babysitting job that coincides with a full lunar eclipse. She slowly realizes her clients harbor a terrifying secret. The House of The Devil is directed by Ti West and stars Jocelin Donahue, Tom Noonan, and Mary Woronov.

The House of The Devil is a classic 80s style horror movie which wasn’t much of a surprise since it is set in the 80s. To the film credit though, it does it use the 80s setting for an easy nostalgia trip for viewers the detail within the setting enhances the story for the better. It is the attention given to the details of the film that make The House of the Devil a real classic throwback horror film. You can see the impact of classic horror films on The House of the Devil. But instead of doing the easy thing and ripping off those classics such as Halloween, The House of The Devil is much more of a tribute to them. And it does it effortlessly too, if I hadn’t known The House of The Devil was released in 2009, I would have thought it was a high budget 80s horror film I had never heard of before. That’s how good it is at feeling like a classic 80s horror movie. I would go far to say that it’s actually better than a lot of horror movies that were released in the 80s. I was truly impressed at how The House of Devil was able to walk the line of being a homage to the most celebrated horror movies without faltering and becoming a parody.

Just like with many older classic horror films, The House of The Devil gets its scares from building tension than outright modern-day jump scares. The House of the Devil subtlety builds tension at the start of the film and it just keeps on adding on layers of tension until at the movie’s climax where it just explodes. It’s a beautiful thing to witness as the viewer has been slowly noticing their anxiety increasing as the movie goes along. It’s the tight script and storytelling that’s what makes the climax of the movie so satisfying to watch. It feels like the writers and director Ti West is thanking you for investing the time and putting your focus onto The House of Devil by creating a climax that is so satisfying to watch after dedicating the time into it. It’s the feeling you should have after every movie you watch, the satisfaction in choosing the right film for you and loving it. There’s not a lot of feelings better than that and The House of The Devil gave me that feeling.

The level of suspense and tension in The House of The Devil feels almost unparalleled to me. It’s not the average modern horror movie with so many jump scares that you lose count of. One of the things I appreciate most about The House of The Devil is that it’s not a modern horror movie dressed up as an 80s horror flick. It very easily could have been an 80s nostalgic trip instead of a movie. We have seen a lot of that in the media recently with the resurgence of 80s nostalgia because of the success of Stranger Things. Everything seems to be trying to steal from the success of some of the most celebrated movies from any other time than the present, but The House of The Devil is a clear exception. I think of it as a homage to some of the best horror movies ever without using them as a crutch. It’s able to stand on its own and it delivers on its promise of being a creepy horror film. Being a tribute to classic horror just might make The House of The Devil it’s very own classic in a few years. Only time will tell.


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