The House of the Devil Reviewed
I was finally able to sit down last night and watch Ti West's The House of the Devil. I had been anticipating it for quite some time, I loved the poster art, the gimmick of releasing the film on VHS, and everything about the film seemed alluring. Needless to say, I was very excited to finally be able to watch it. Unfortunately, it was something of a let-down for me.
I was actually able to get with the gimmick of creating a film that looked/felt like an eighties picture, at first I thought that was silly, but rationalized it as a period piece that's HEAVY on the period. And, you know what, the set up is pretty nice. The first reel makes it seem like you are in for a really good time. It seemed like it could have been the first reel of some lost Halloween sequel from the eighties. Genre staple Dee Wallace even pops up in the first five minutes of the picture.
Unfortunately, writer/director Ti West is unable to deliver on his set up and we're left with a lot of filler, and, ultimately, an uninspired, easy, and trite ending. The entire second act is superfluous, and could have been better utilized. I kind of dug the montage scene. It amped up the pace a little bit, but ultimately it was too little too late. The film had already begun its slow plod into mediocrity by that point. I won't spoil the ending here, but I will say that it is not rewarding as a film watcher. You've seen it before, you will see it again.
It's too bad, too. I love a good "slow burn" horror film. I love films like The Sentinel or The Entity. You could really tell they were going for Polanski (think Rosemary's Baby or The Tenant) with this one, but few people are as capable as Polanski and Ti West isn't one of them. This movie had so much promise, but ultimately feels flat and all the gimmicks in the world can't save a flat script.