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 House of the Devil

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Cruel Angel
Haunter Of The Dark
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PostSubject: House of the Devil   Sat Feb 27, 2010 12:10 am

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Finally got around to watching this one. Heard good things about it.


A modern made movie, but set back in the 80s... just that made me want to check it out Smile

The movie starts with mention of the rise of satanic cults during the 70s and 80s.

Enter Samantha, a sophomore in college, trying to escape dorm life and her messy punk roomie. She lucks out and finds a room off campus, but has only the weekend to come up with the money. She responds to an ad on campus for a one night babysitting job, which happens to be the night of a lunar eclipse. With barely any information about the job, her friend drives her out to the secluded address... a 3 story house out in the woods with an adjoining cemetery.

Her friend's unease about the job worsens once they arrive. The middle aged couple that lives in the house were not in truth looking for a babysitter, but someone that would be able to help their aged mother should something happen while they go out for the evening to watch the eclipse. When Samantha turns down the offer, the husband offers her 400$ just for her to stay for 4 hours, ending at midnight. To her friend's dismay, Sam accepts (after talking him up to 500). Sam makes her friend agree to come back around 1230AM to pick her up... and thus begins Sam's evening.



The Good-

The atmosphere is great. None of the stupid cliches and tactics that are commonplace in common horror movies are around for cheap jump in your seat moments, or to provide easy tip offs for something about to happen. With the exception of the college scenes and Sam listening to her walkman, there is virtually no music or incidental score at all in the entire movie. The usual camera angles hinting at something getting ready to come from off screen, or drawing attention to doors, windows, etc... not here. To me, this REALLY raised the tension level of the movie. You are just waiting for something to happen, yet you have no idea where it is coming from. Plus, since there are no cheap moments, there are long periods of time as Sam is exploring the house that you figure SOMETHING has to happen and you are just drawn into the scenes... checking for shadows, movement, noises... you keep waiting and waiting... tension keeps building through all that down time, and when something FINALLY happens, even if it is just a little thing, it really catches you.

However, to some, this strength might be seen as a weakness. People that are used to moderate to fast pacing, frequent action or events, etc. will probably not like this movie. They would probably criticize it as being boring, too slow to get going, and not enough going on to sustain interest. The film runs right at about 90 minutes... and Sam's adventure at the house doesn't even begin until the 30 min mark.


The Bad-

Unfortunately, Sam suffers from the typical horror character having a lack of brain power and poor grasp of tactics (of course, if she had paid attention to all the warning signs, she wouldn't have taken the job in the first place). At times she shows flashes of intelligence, as when she decides to arm herself as she finally figures out something strange is going on in the house. However, the flashes do not last for long. She passes up an opportunity to upgrade her weapon choice, and settles for wounds and escape versus finishing off her opponents and actually cutting down on the actual threat number.

However, she does get some points for a bold move at the end.

I also have to ding the cultists too. Although their overall scheme was well executed, there was a glaring flaw in one element (well, at least to me). At one stage, it seems the progression was dependent upon Sam taking a particular course of action. Yes, they did some subtle maneuvering, but she could have easily not done what they wanted to her to do at all (trust me on that one, I could explain further, but I don't want to spoil it). Unless they had a couple of backup plans ready, that was an awfully big gamble to take that she would act the ONLY way they wanted her to.


And the rest-


The payoff... the end was actually pretty decent. Not too formulaic, but their attempt at a little twist at the end shouldn't come as a surprise to well versed horror fans. I think that is the price we intelligent horror fans pay for our lifetime of watching and reading so many works... experiencing so many plots, cliches, variations, twists- it is extremely rare to come across something you can't see coming. When I watch horror or mysteries, I always get into the mindset of trying to out think the writer. I think the twists are more for the casual fan/ moviegoer who won't be as analytical, or has less of a storehouse of knowledge to draw from.


This movie for me was a nice find, especially in this day and age of more gore/ FX and less mood/ atmosphere.


Up next: going to get around to watching Zombieland and Dead Snow.
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DeathCult
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PostSubject: Re: House of the Devil   Sat Feb 27, 2010 12:30 am

Damn, sounds good! I'll have to check this one out.
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Akeldama
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PostSubject: Re: House of the Devil   Sat Feb 27, 2010 4:47 pm

I'll check this one out for sure!
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