The House of the Devil

I would ask why all my favorite movie stories happen at the Alamo Drafthouse, but I know why: because it’s the kind of place that builds good industry relationships, and so it gets all the cool stuff that is mostly reserved for the red carpet premiere set. I am jealous of this lack in Dallas, but I do get to go to Austin now and again and relive the awesome all over again. In this particular case, I watched a movie called The House of the Devil, which is presently only in release in New York, Los Angeles, and one screen in Austin. Not that this was carpety or star-studded, or that it even particularly had stars[1], but I still appreciate on some level the exclusivity.

What we’ve got here is your basic 80s Satanic cult flick, in which a girl takes a babysitting job on the night of a lunar eclipse, only the situation keeps getting weirder and spookier and tenser. Generally good stuff, and it was definitely made as solid homage to the genre, with every detail spot on down to the film stock quality. And it was good. It just… I feel like I watched a movie someone made in the early 1980s. As that was the apparent goal, I must admit that they nailed it; they did[2]. But somehow, I feel like the 25 years that have elapsed since then requires some kind of advancement in the state of the art. Not the film, or the special effects (of which there were almost none beyond the ones based on violence), but the plot. Like, maybe a modern twist, some hint that this was not in fact an old reel someone dug up, but an actual new movie? I liked it, don’t get me wrong. The slavish devotion to nostalgia just made it feel empty.

[1] The biggest name was a pre-credits cameo by Dee Wallace.
[2] Seriously, the only detail that felt wrong during the opening credits was that the release date Roman numerals started with MM instead of MCM.

1 thought on “The House of the Devil

  1. Pingback: Sweet, Sweet Lonely Girl | Shards of Delirium

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