Sunday, October 24, 2010

31 Days of Halloween: The House of the Devil

One of the best straight horror films in recent memory slipped by the mainstream virtually unnoticed last year.  In the shadow of the over-hyped, silly scares of Paranormal Activity, retro throwback The House of the Devil traveled the festival and midnight movie circuit accumulating a heady amount of praise, but failing to bring in the audience it deserved.  The House of the Devil  is old school horror: babysitters, Satanism, large kitchen knives, the works.  Everything about it, right down to the casting, makes it feel as though its been recently unearthed from a vault closed in 1983.  The plot is a simple but effective blend of suspense and monstrous menace.  Samantha, a broke college student pining for an apartment,  takes a babysitting job at a mysterious house on the outskirts of town.  It's the night of a lunar eclipse when Samantha is scheduled to work for the creepy Mr. Ullman who informs her that he actually has no child, and Samantha will actually just be standing by to make sure nothing goes wrong with his elderly mother.  $400 for a single evening of nothing.   If it sounds too good to be true, it of course is.  But, you know, you really need to watch it unfold for yourself.

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