Jocelin Donahue, Tom Noonan, Mary Woronov, Greta Gerwig
Directed by Ti West
Getting through college is tough and when you’re broke, any little thing helps. Samantha Hughes (Donahue) is trying to pay for her first off-campus home but is short on funds. When she passes a babysitting flyer on campus, she calls the number at the nearest payphone and finds out about the job. In the end, it involves her driving far from school to a big house in the woods. It’s not the most encouraging sign, especially when she’s told her babysitting duty is to watch over an old woman who wants to be left alone.
The House of the Devil runs along the same vein as Rosemary’s Baby; it takes it’s time setting up the suspense and has a creepy cult worshipping the devil. It’s not as scary as the premise suggests. The movie is 80% watching Samantha waiting to hear from the babysitting job and then snooping around the house because she is bored. The leftover is a surprising turn of events as Samantha is tied up in the basement being force-fed blood.
What makes this horror movie work is that Samantha is not a dumb lead character. She has a good intuition for fighting her way out of the house. The creepy family who has tried to sacrifice her on the night of an eclipse chase after her but they aren’t fast enough. Samantha is a character we can root for because she doesn’t make stupid decisions that put her life in danger.
Despite the slow pace, there’s not that much character development. It’s a day in the life of Samantha. A few things are made known about her, like she’s a student who needs money and it doesn’t seem like her parents are involved in her life. What she likes to do for fun or what she is studying isn’t made known.
Overall, The House of the Devil is probably more worth watching for horror movie buffs. Otherwise, it’s snore-worthy with an ending that makes up for keeping you waiting for so long.