Tuesday, October 25, 2011
The House of the Devil
Despite her friend's warnings, a college student takes a babysitting gig under shady circumstances because she's hard up for cash. Between the odd behavior of the family, and a shadowy figure lurking around outside, something is going on, but what?
Ti West's The House of the Devil, from 2009, has fast become one of my favorite horror movies. It's like some sort of perfect distillation of everything I love about the genre. It's focused on suspense rather than shock (but it knows how to shock when necessary). It is deliberately paced, yet the story is streamlined to its essentials. It's richly atmospheric without being distractingly stylized. It knows how to use violence effectively without relying on it to provide all the entertainment.
And, maybe most importantly, it's legitimately scary, but in a fun way. These days, if a horror movie is scary it tends to have to be disturbing or completely downbeat, or if it's fun then it's a horror/comedy. It's such a rare treat to find a movie that understands how fear and fun don't have to be mutually exclusive.