Time for some rumor control. Contrary to what one would assume watching The House of the Devil, writer-director Ti West does not have the power to bend time and space to his will. Ti West is not a time lord, he is a mere mortal like the rest of us, he just happens to have the ability to make a film that lives and breathes as if it fell out of a wormhole from 1983. Plenty of horror directors attempt the throwback film, but few pull it off and even fewer pull it off as convincingly as West has with The House of the Devil.

Samantha (Jocelin Donahue) is an impossibly cute college gal dying to escape her slovenly roommate. In order to afford the too-good-to-be-true rent on an apartment she's just discovered, Samantha has to, against her better judgment, answer a Babysitter Wanted flier pinned to the ad board on campus. The man on the phone (Tom Noonan) is a little creepy and a little too eager to find a babysitter on the night of a rare full lunar eclipse, but that's just something Samantha is going to have to put up with if she wants to move out. So the ill-fated coed asks her best friend to drive her out to the isolated house in the woods, where things eventually prove to be even worse than Samantha imagined.

What follows is a remarkably restrained, expertly-maintained atmosphere of tension and dread that is in no rush to evolve from its controlled burn to full-on Satanic panic. And if there's anything that House of the Devil has going against itself, it's the fact that very little happens for long stretches of the film. Granted, this is liable to only be a problem for those who like their horror movies fast, quick and drenched in red, but for those among us who can appreciate a 95-minute film that remains wholly fascinating without exploiting any of the aforementioned qualities, House of the Devil is a near-perfect film.
categories Reviews, Horror