in Shocktober

The House of the Devil (2009)

If you summed it up in one sentence, The House of the Devil wouldn’t seem like much. A college student, Samantha Hughes (Jocelin Donahue) takes an unusual babysitting job under a mysterious client. Yet, writer/director Ti West’s breakout cult favorite has enough style and scares to make it worth watching. The music and overall feel gel perfectly with the film’s clever 1980s setting. The cast including; Jocelin Donahue, Tom Noonan, Dee Wallace and Greta Gerwig are a step above your average horror movie cast and the results feel like a breath of fresh air from a young burgeoning talent.

The client is the eerily calm Mr. Ulman (Tom Noonan) and his wife (Mary Woronov) who have plans to attend a lunar eclipse event. The baby? Isn’t a baby at all but an old woman upstairs… Or is it? Once Samantha is left alone she is left to stew in a mess of intrigue and sounds going bump in the night. Just look at the film’s title and maybe you can start making some guesses.

Before this, West directed several overlooked films to varying degrees of success and then the straight-to-DVD “Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever”. It would have been easy for West to get sucked into making crappy, director-for-hire, bargain big DVD gigs for the rest of the career but instead he made what he actually wanted to make. There’s not much else I can say without spoiling anything but this film is superb, old-school, horror fun.

She’s a little bit Frances Ha and a little bit Farrah Fawcett.