Oh my goodness, such a long day of travel. I’m so happy to be home right now. And sleeping soon is going to be glorious.
Had a wonderful trip in DC. Was great to see everyone and the wedding was really nice. Wish I could get back for visits more often.
Anyway, because it’s what I do, after hanging out on Friday we watched The House of the Devil. So that’s today’s movie. Woo! (I might still be delirious. Maybe.)
Wrote this one on the plane! I think it makes sense but I’m not entirely sure. We’ll see. To sum it up, I enjoyed House of the Devil but it gets a bit boring in the middle. I need to go watch Cabin Fever 2 now.
The House of the Devil – USA, 2009. Dir. Ti West. Starring Jocelin Donahue, Tom Noonan, Mary Woronov.
Late post tonight! I’m still traveling back to LA from DC, not a lot of time for things like writing and movies and blogs while you’re traveling. Excuses, I know. Whichever. I am writing this on an airplane though, so that’s kind of exciting. Woo technology.
I’ve been in DC for the weekend for a good friend’s wedding. It was a really nice time, visiting friends from college and catching up with people I get to see maybe once a year. I’m not a huge fan of DC in general but I love to visit everybody.
And somehow in the midst of wedding times and friends and even a bit of family time hanging out with my brother, still I managed to watch scary movies and continue this thing. Didn’t hurt that my friends James and Katie were really excited about Hocus Pocus (James maintains it counts since anything starring Sarah Jessica Parker as “sexy” is frightening). Or that my friend Lauren also really likes scary movies and was excited to watch one with me.
I am not going to write about Hocus Pocus. At least, not today. I do love that movie, it’s a great childhood Halloween flick, but yeah. It’s not today’s movie.
I am going to write about The House of the Devil.
House of the Devil is a low budget horror movie streaming on Netflix that I actually watched for the first time only a few months ago…
Oh! Midnight in Paris is the in flight movie! Awesome, I haven’t seen this yet!
Okay, anyway, scary movie first. House of the Devil.
As I was saying, House of the Devil is currently streaming on Netflix. It was directed by Ti West, who also directed Cabin Fever 2. The film is about a young college student who is desperate to make ends meet. When she sees a posting on campus looking for a babysitter, she sees an opportunity to earn the cash she needs and responds. She gets the job, has her friend drive her out to the suitably creepy house in the middle of nowhere, and, predictably, nothing about this ends well.
It’s a pretty standard set up actually – babysitter alone in a big old house, weird stuff happens, she realizes things are terribly wrong, etc. And that’s pretty much the point. What makes House of the Devil fun and worth watching is that it’s so very eighties.
Wait, what? Wasn’t this movie just made? Yup. It sure was. It is however set in the eighties and while it’s not always the best movie, it is a loving homage to the genre and the decade. From hairstyles to wardrobe (her jeans are terrible!) to technology, everything about this movie is made with a fine attention to detail and strives for authenticity.
It’s also eighties in the story telling and structure. Which is fun for a while but there is a point in the middle when things do really begin to drag. One sequence in particular annoyed me. After the couple who own the house leave, she decides for some unknown reason to go wander the entire house. I mean, the entire house. She goes poking through rooms, digging through the desk drawers, rifling through the closets. Watching it, I’m just kind of like, “What is she doing??” There’s no reason for her to do so, it’s really weird!
Of course this leads to her discovering some little bit of information that makes her suspicious of the story she’s been told, she gets a pizza, she realizes the house she’s in is devilish, there’s some good, bloody violence, she runs up the stairs when she should be going out the front door, etc. etc.
The best part in all of that happens as she is first exploring (or snooping around) the house. She tries a few doors, peeks into a few rooms, and eventually comes to a door that is locked. After trying to open it for a moment she moves on. What she doesn’t know but what the filmmakers show us, is that behind that door is a grizzly scene that would have immediately sent her screaming to the cops. It’s a cool moment.
In the end though, that’s mostly all this movie is. A good concept, a few cool moments, one or two great shocks, and a whole lot of boring. I love the idea of creating a story that’s a throwback to the eighties. House of the Devil definitely delivers a good number of entertaining moments, nods to the decade. A walkman that’s the size of a brick, the jeans that go half way up the torso… I don’t want to spoil too many, you can pick them out for yourself.
In the end, House of the Devil is fun, it’s entertaining, but it’s not great. The best part about it is in the details. Check it out if you’ve got the Netflix but don’t be surprised if you find yourself a little bored and distracted in the middle.
And now, I’m going to take a break from the scary movies for some Midnight in Paris. Hemingway! Fitzgerald! Stein! I love it already.