The House of the Devil title image
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93 min.
Release Date
House of the Devil

The House of the Devil is a nerve-shattering chiller and a committed exercise in pastiche, rigidly adhering to the low-budget horror aesthetic of yesteryear. From the intentional grain that appears onscreen to the simplistic babysitter-terrorized-by-cultists plot to the dated décor, soundtrack, and poster design, everything about it feels like a throwback to the horror movie renaissance of the 1970s and 1980s. If someone told you this was a long-lost flick from forty-some years ago that was discovered in 2009, you’d have no choice but to believe them, since the filmmakers went to great extremes to devise and shoot a movie whose mise-en-scène draws from its period of choice. Released in 2009, the film marked a critical breakthrough for writer-director-editor Ti West, whose capacity for slow-burning suspense and formal imitation caught the attention of festival-goers and cult audiences with this throwback hit. Fortunately, West’s approach is less about nostalgia and reference points than an homage to an era, and he replicates that effect with convincing formal techniques and narrative minimalism.

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