by Afra Nariman
The House of the Devil (2009)
Director: Ti West
Stars: Jocelin Donahue, Tom Noonan, Mary Woronov, Greta Gerwig, AJ Bowen
This was great. Ti West’s complete command of the genre and the form within it, is more than evident here. I haven’t gotten to watch X and Pearl yet, so I’m even more excited for those now. In The House of the Devil, West exhibits great precision, and an awesome ability to craft and mold the cinematic form; as he patiently peels away the various, relatively simple moments of the story.
The insidious is not revealed to us early on. Rather, it is merely hinted at repeatedly — some hints are ambiguous, while others are blunt and inspire suspicion. We observe these patient hints until the film’s evil is at last realized; and it surfaces all at once in the final act. The House of the Devil feels grounded in its approach to the events prior to the final sequence, making the protagonist, Samantha’s fear feel more tangible.
Ti West’s camera is informative. It constantly directs, misdirects, and redirects your attention. By doing this, West makes the camera an active storyteller of horror and suspense. These are details that can make films feel unique and original; and are certainly reasons to feel excited about the filmmaking that you’re watching. I look forward to watching his two celebrated films of 2022, soon.
MY RATING /5:
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