With the Tribeca Film Festival now underway, one would expect indie filmmaker Ti West to be all kinds of happy. His latest, The House of the Devil, is having its world premiere there -- plus the guy recently finished work on Cabin Fever 2. So what's the problem? Well, according to a rather fine interview between West and Spout's Karina Longworth, Ti is irritated that his producers have trimmed his movie down by a few scenes.
Click right here for the full piece (which also offers some interesting tidbits regarding the long-gestating Cabin Fever 2), but the gist of the conflict seems to be this: The House of the Devil, in its Tribeca incarnation, is missing a few scenes that the director happens to think are important. Having already seen West's 'preferred' version, I can offer the opinion that ... yes, the guy has a very good point. It's no secret at this point, especially if you've seen West's earlier flicks (The Roost and Trigger Man), that The House of the Devil is what we call a "seriously slow burn." You could trim SIX scenes from the flick and it'll still be a deliberately-paced and, ok, slow film. Trimming two scenes from this movie "for pacing" is like removing ten M&Ms from a giant bag "for dieters." For his part, the director seems irritated and confused, but not particuarly livid: "All of my movies, the first half of them are just like regular movies, and then they turn into horror movies. That's the only interesting element to me, that contrast. So they're not surprised. It's just that everyone is terrified, because it's 2009, so no one's going to buy anything ... It was in the rough cut, it was in the fine cut, it was in the final cut it was in the sound edit - it's never changed, and it was always boring the whole time. It's this whole last minute fear."
For my part, I thought the movie was pretty darn great. If you can accept that "slow" is NOT an insult, then I'd callThe House of the Devil almost deliciously slow. I'll review the flick for FEARnet later this week, but I don't mind repeating this section: "Ti West seems intently focused on becoming an indie horror version of Terrence Malick. His films are slow, languid, deliberately-paced -- but also smart, subtle, and disconcertingly cool to look at. They're not for all tastes, nor are they 'crowd-pleasing' indie horror films, but who cares? This is a hard-working guy who makes strange, challenging, and surpisingly unique movies."
So congrats to the Devil crew on their Tribeca premiere, but I'm hoping the next festivals (not to mention the DVD release) deliver the version the director prefers. Nothing against the well-intentioned Dark Sky producers, but we tend to trust the guys who actually wrote and directed the films.