Facebook Pixel
Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

The Terror Comeback

The Terror Comeback: ‘The House of the Devil’ (2009) Review

Step Into the Eclipse: Uncover the Darkness That Awaits in ‘The House of the Devil’.

the house of the devil review
MPI Media Group

In this column, Zofia Wijaszka reviews forgotten, underrated, and “hidden gems” horror films that deserve a new audience’s attention and post-watch conversation. The Terror Comeback’s goal is to celebrate the horror genre, both the genre in the cinema and on television.

The House of the Devil Review: Detailed, Bloodcurdling, and One of Ti West’s Best Horrors

The House of the Devil Review
MPI Media Group

Some of the best productions from the horror genre of the last few years were undoubtedly movies X and Pearl. Created by Ti West, the series’ third installment called Maxxxine is set to premiere this year. But before making a name for himself, back in 2009, West directed The House of the Devil. This terrifying, culty horror film is a highly underrated gem and it masterfully evokes the 80s’ atmosphere through the storyline, costume, and set design. 

“This terrifying, culty horror film is a highly underrated gem and it masterfully evokes the 80s’ atmosphere through the storyline, costume, and set design.”

The film is set in 1983 and follows Samantha Hughes (Jocelin Donahue), a college student who’s trying to make ends meet and takes on an unusual babysitting job. In an unusual coincidence, the job corresponds with a total lunar eclipse, which will occur at night. As her best friend, Megan (Greta Gerwig), takes her to the location, nothing seems out of ordinary. But soon, Sam grows increasingly restless as she discovers that her wealthy clients hide a dark secret, placing her and the others in a severe danger. Sam has no idea she is about to confront the devil.

The House of the Devil Review
MPI Media Group

West’s film commences with the director detailing the high prevalence of satanic cults at the period presented in The House of the Devil. Despite being filmed in 2009, this horror film feels fully of the 1980s. Camera work plays an important role in achieving such good authenticity. West utilizes camera filters to make the footage appear older, making it feel retro and somewhat nostalgic, even for younger audiences who couldn’t live during that time. Through the film, West lets the audience immerse themselves in the 80s horror. In some ways, it reminds me of Kyle Edward Ball’s Skinamarink, which skillfully established an atmosphere of childhood nightmares that, strangely, became so relatable to the audience, despite all of us having different childhood experiences. The shots are likewise styled after 1980s horror flicks, with unexpected zoom-ins on the facial expressions.

The House of the Devil Review
MPI Media Group

The House of the Devil boasts one of the best cast ensembles. Donahue stars as Sam, a level-headed character who’s in severe need of money to pay her rent deposit. In some ways, she’s very relatable to the adolescent audience, as she attempts to make the best of her circumstances. Gerwig also contributes significantly, despite appearing in only two sequences. Yet, the performance of Barbie’s director becomes notable. Even the supporting cast is wonderful, with Tom Noonan, Mary Woronov, and AJ Bowen portraying the mysterious Ulman family. The music is another excellent addition to the picture, including “One Thing Leads to Another” by The Fixx and “The Breakup Song (They Don’t Write ‘Em)” by The Greg Kihn Band, among others.

Overall, West’s horror is near to being flawless and becomes a great contribution to the horror genre. Each element is carefully crafted, making sure the audience knows the passion behind the camera as well. If you’re seeking to recreate that unique 80s atmosphere and feel like watching a good horror movie, The House of the Devil is the film for you. 

Grade: A

The film is available on Amazon Freevee.



The House of the Devil

The House of the Devil

A young college student who’s struggling financially takes a strange babysitting job which coincides with a full lunar eclipse. She slowly realizes her clients harbor a terrifying secret, putting her life in mortal danger.

Release Date: October 30, 2009

Director: Ti West

Cast: Jocelin Donahue , Tom Noonan , Mary Woronov

Sign up for the Good Nerdy Morning Newsletter

Weekly digest and news from the communities you love and more.
By submitting your information you agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

You May Also Like

Reviews

A technically impressive film with strong central characters, but ultimately unsatisfying due to its lack of depth and clear message.

Reviews

The team behind 'Westworld' brings the popular videogame saga to life in a new action-packed, big-budget Prime show.

The Terror Comeback

Ethan Hawke as a Terrifying Killer in an Indelible Horror Flick About Strength, Grief, Friendship, and Abuse.

Trailer Reactions

'MaXXXine' Trailer, the long-anticipated final installment in Ti West’s American slasher horror trilogy.

Reviews

Anne Hathaway and Jessica Chastain bring melodrama to a predictable thriller about tragedy in 1960s suburbia.

Reviews

Faith, Fear, and Freedom: 'Immaculate' Unravels the Dark Ties of Religion in a Chilling Tale of Empowerment and Horror.

Reviews

Passion and Power Collide in 'Love Lies Bleeding': A Tale of Love's Transformative Force.

Bombastic B-Movies

Turning the Tables on Terror: Samara Weaving in 'The Babysitter' - Where Dream Girls Can Be a Nightmare.