I am in awe of Ti West. We are but months apart in age, and though we were only children during the 1980s, both have a strong identification with that era’s “Don’t worry be happy” atmosphere. With House of the Devil, West creates a Hitchcockian suspense film in tune with the fright flicks of his youth.
Sam is a spry college student weighed down by a lack of funds and a callous roommate. She comes upon a quiet rental property and a fortuitous babysitting gig that’s the most dreadful depiction of the profession since John Carpenter’s Halloween. Throughout the course of the night Sam realizes there is something occult about the eerily compassionate couple who hired her.
The film is written, directed and edited by West. He is a horror enthusiast and understands the strength of mood and pacing. With House of the Devil he creates a stripped-down, retro experience that relishes its own sense of grim anticipation.
As a filmmaker I find West’s work wholly inspirational. He has a commendable knack for creating competent chillers from simple premises and meager budgets. Steven Spielberg is said to look at Seven Samurai and Lawrence of Arabia before going into production. I revisit Ti West’s The Roost.
The Roost (2005)
Trigger Man (2007)
The House of the Devil (2009)