House of the Devil (2009)


Written, Edited & Directed by: Ti West


Jocelin Donahue .... Samantha
Tom Noonan .... Mr. Ullman
Mary Woronov .... Mrs. Ullman
Greta Gerwig .... Megan
AJ Bowen .... Victor Ullman

Special Appearance:

Dee Wallace .... Landlady

Release Dates: European Film Market: February 6, 2009; Tribeca Film Festival: April 25, 2009; Fantasia International Film Festival: July 26, 2009; Lund Fantastisk Film Festival: September 24, 2009; Milwaukee Film Festival: September 25, 2009; Austin Fantastic Fest: September 27, 2009; Chicago International Film Festival: October 9, 2009; Screamfest Horror Film Festival: October 21, 2009; Sainte Maxime International Horror Film Festival: October 26, 2009; Limited Theatrical: October 30, 2009 (USA); Mar del Plata Film Festival: November 7, 2009; Festival otrleho divaka: February 12, 2010; Amsterdam Fantastic Film Festival: April 15, 2010; MOTELx Lisbon International Horror Film Festival: October 1, 2010






A young lady named Samantha (Jocelin Donahue) rents her first apartment suite but needs a job and finds an ad for a babysitter needed then gets a call from a guy named Mr. Ullman (Tom Noonan) who needs someone right away.
She drives to the isolated area where his house is along with her friend Megan (Greta Gerwig)
as Mr. Ullman offers her alot of money for the job but yet Megan finds him and his wife Mrs. Ullman (Mary Woronov) a little too creepy and tries to talk Samantha out of this job but she refuses since she desperately needs the cash.
While sitting at the house Samantha finds that the place is too quiet but hears sounds coming from the house or outside and isn't sure whether or not to call the police. But later on realises that the Ullman's plans to use her in a satanic ritual that coincides with a full lunar eclipse.


The beginning looked impressive with the landlady and lead character Samantha being shown around in an apartment suite which made me wonder if the terror will happen later on with this since things seemed way too nice and peaceful as this will draw a real attention grabber. It's also interesting to see a young lady like Samantha so eager to get the apartment and the landlady almost being generous but warning her to take good care of the suite in which this moment seemed to be well written in on people who really want their suites not being taken advantage of.
It was nice to see Samantha and her friend Megan hang out at a diner talking about her having the new apartment which gives you a happy feeling about being young and celebrating. We see the different style of the coke cups served there showing a big difference on what the 80's styles looked like. I mean how this was designed you would think that this is a film that was done way back then. It was done in great style.
Then when the two of them travel in which there's scene's of wooded trees going by give the film a nice darkness to everything surrounding them.
When they arrive at a house the story does seem creepy and mysterious when the resident named Mr. Ullman greting them in a spooky type of fashion in which the settings surrounding all of them were silent and still leaving a good creepy impression that something here is not right especially when Mr. Ullman seemed a little too disturbed when he explains situations.
There's an interesting scene with Megan in a room eating candy from a bowl in a living room and then getting strange about it all which makes you wonder if that was actually candy she was eating or something else that was supposed to look like that for guests. She also runs out of the house which kept me in suspense wondering why she did so.
A real nice and twisted moment is when Mrs. Ullman introduces herself to Samantha and she comes on to her too strong acting very wicked too like she wanted to molest her. This moment was incredibly mysterious and drawing to a near horror moment making you think that she will do something deadly later on and is behind the satanic story in the film.
Another nice touch to the story is when Megan waits outside for Samantha and is uncomfortable trying to tell her that these residents are freaky but yet Samantha needs the money which is a good peer pressuring moment on what to do. It draws to the story even more knowing that she's looking for trouble by accepting the job babysitting the house.
One of my favourite scene's in the film is when Megan drives away and then parks her car to try and look for something while lighting up a cigarette in which instantly you know something creepy is gonna happen like someone watching her and that's just what happens when a strange man named Victor appears catching her by surprise which is a great jumping moment asking if she's the babysitter and then shoots her in the head which looked like a real fast moment coming from him in which you don't expect this to happen when the two of them are in the middle of a conversation. It was shocking and horrifying while this happened and done in perfect horror taste too.
The story becomes even more dark and silent when Samantha is in the house alone or we may all think that and she gets scared since it's too silent and hears the odd noises and takes out a kitchen knife in case she needs it as this definetely left a chill down my spine knowing that something is going to happen eventually. There's another great jumping moment when she slowly walks up the stairs and everything is quiet and the loud doorbell rings. Man this creeped me out like it did to this character which was nicely put in. It was only the pizza delivery person as there's a funny moment when she snatches the pizza and throws him the money telling him to keep the change and slams the door. You can't blame her for just being short with everything being in an isolated area and possibly someone watching her.
There's a great moment when she nearly checks out a room but inside are corpses lying near a pentagram and I was thinking to myself "Oh no this is not good" but it was done in a good horror artsy fashion.
It gets even scarier when Samantha knows someone is after her and she tries to get away from the areas of the house which keeps you in suspense wondering if she will succeed or not as well as her losing conciousness and falling to the floor like she was drugged. All of this keeps you in suspense without a doubt as I thought "Oh no something terrible is gonna happen as she didn't escape!"
Then there's a classic battle on Samantha trying to get away from that satanic family as even if it means killing most of them as this looked very adventureous and well done in order to survive being a victim of a satanic cult.
But yet when she tries to escape there's a good pleading by Mr. Ullman trying to reason with her which is a good brainteaser wondering if he means any harm or not but yet what he says sounds crazy.
Bottom line is the film is amazingly creepy and definetely has that 80's horror feel to it making it look very dark and scary. It seems pointless towards the end of it but yet let's hope a sequel will be in the works since I hope to see more excitment to it. This film can be liked by the same fans who enjoyed another type similar to this called The Stranger. Plus this film explains being based on real life events is really chilling too wondering who to trust while getting a babysitting job. The film is a great one for horror fans who likes simple films dealing with a satanic cult.

The acting is pretty good in which we have lead actress Jocelin Donahue (Samantha) seems to pull her weight well as someone who is fairly naive along with knowing how to act anxious and scared too showing off some good energy for what she had to do in it. She also does well with her crying emotions along with her painful reactions when the terror hits her and showing out alot into her role in it. There's a nice surprised and tense moment with her by answering a payphone and speaking softly while talking which looked well done. In another scene she is trying to act defensive about everything in which this all looked nicely energised. Has nice nervous expressions while walking through the hallways pof an area by exploring things. She also reacts nicely when she dials up a phone and trying to call with good frusterated reactions on her with all of this. There's a nice cringing attitude with her and grabbing a kitchen knife and looking around the area which looked hyped up and in good taste. Good nervous expressions trying to hold it together which looked very well done while trying to pay for a pizza at the front door. Does a good job acting frusterated while trying to make another phone call as well as doing well choked up when a 911 returns her call in which she seems to be believeable by acting speechless. Does well falling down and crying in pain while trying to run away as this all looked convincing. She does a great job swinging a knife to someone's throat. Showed a nice shock of pain while being stabbed in the back. Showed a good panicked frenzy while running outside.
Tom Noonan (Mr. Ullman) really came across nicely to the screen with his mysterious attitude in the film by having some silent and disturbed reactions whenever he spoke. He just seemed very creepy with everything that he did in the film. Plus he had the right looks in which he seemed like one of those strange types. Shows a nice ghostly type of appraoch in the beginning of his performance. She was nicely energised while freaking out by being tied to a pentagram. A nice moment on him by calling to her and trying to speak sympathetically along with her freaking out at him which looked intense and well done.
Mary Woronov (Mrs. Ullman) was another great one in the cast having a wicked type of attitude along with showing nice cold expressions and speaking too. She brings out alot of interesting characteristics and coming across that she isn't anyone safe to be around. She brought on a great still and bizaree behavior indeed. She's impressive by talking smoothly and wickedly towards her fellow actress and touching her which looked slick as well as showing good evil expressions. A nice near weeping attitude on her in a scene while running up some stairs acting lifeless as well as getting up and showing an angry reaction on her which looked nice and energetic.
Greta Gerwig (Megan) had a nice supporting role as she acts very outgoing to what she did in the film and really getting into her happiness for the first beginning of the film as well as really having a good anxious behavior too in the other spots and showing alot of nice characteristics. She stood out the most I found even if she got killed off halfway through. Does well speaking anxiously towards someone else. She does a good job parking her car and acting frusterated and then acting startled after lighting a cigarette.
AJ Bowen (Victor Ullman) lived to portray a freaky role like this one as he really brings on a hyperactive type of behavior in his role. He was believeably menacing and was convincing in just acting fast whenever he does a killing or any kind of deadly deed. He brought this role at a full charge with his performance.
A neat cameo appearance by Dee Wallace (Landlady) in which it's nice to still see her get work now and then. She really brings a good business like attitude to her role in the film along with a niceness to her role too in which she always came across well portraying that type of personality in anything she did with her career. Shows a nice attitude as well.

A head is blown off by a gun
Bloodied dead bodies are revealed in an attic near a pentagram
A throat is bloodily slit
A throat is cut open

Lots of bloodsheds oozing out of people's heads while lying dead on the floor
A headless corpse is revealed
Someone shoots themself in the head with blood spraying out

The music sounded superb as for the real creepy moments we hear screechy violin music in which it becomes incredibly loud and booming for when something really happens. It definetely has that old school feel to it. Also there's light echoey peaceful piano music in certain parts of the film too especially in the end. There's also some good low sounds in it which makes the moments sound very gloomy all put together by Jeff Grace.

The film also has a soundtrack by various artists but what song stood out well was the Greg Kihn Band with "The Breakup Song (They Don't Write 'Em)" which was used during a scene when one of the supporting character's named Megan is lisntening in her car and grooving to the song. The song defitentely gives the film an 80's feel to it.