Wednesday, October 01, 2014

31 Days of Halloween - Day 1 - Movie 1

In desperate need of cash in order to move into her new apartment, Samantha answers a baby sitting flyer finding out that the job may be more than she bargained for. That in a nutshell is the plot for The House of the Devil (2009). This movie has a very small cast, with star, Jocelin Donahue in almost every shot. The movie builds very slowly, taking over half an hour before Samantha even gets the job, and then the bulk of the rest of the movie alone in the huge house with spoken of, but not seen, old woman sleeping somewhere above. The suspense builds nicely with the anticipation of something terrible about to spring at any moment keeping that suspense tight. But, like Ti West's other, and similarly structured film,  The Innkeepers, by the time that something happens it feels like too little, too late. The danger, when if arrives carries with it none of the suspense, or tension that the build up to the danger did.

The movie is clearly about the anticipation about what's going to happen, than what actually happens. I admire West's willingness to build slow, as well as his direction, but if the payoff doesn't live up to the build to it, it makes everything feel like a waste of time. The film features a fine cast which also includes Mary Woronov and the always watchable Tom Noonan, but really needed a worthy finale to make the movie feel rewarding.

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