How to Spot a Cult

I've just watched The House of the Devil (2009) and would like to comment on it. It's a horror movie, but fifteen minutes into the movie it already becomes apparent that it's not like any other modern horror picture. Not only the story is set in the 80's, the movie style itself obviously pays tribute to the style of the horror features of the same era. The flick was even released on VHS (among DVD and Blu-ray of course).

VHS release of The House of the Devil

What is really special about The House of the Devil is how slowly and steadily it builds up the suspense. In the first hour and fifteen minutes of the movie there is almost no story progress at all, almost nothing is happening. Samantha, the main heroine, is a sophomore. She shares a room with a wench who's lifestyle is rather messy for cleanly Samantha. The girl decides to move out and finds just a perfect place. The only problem is she doesn't have money to pay for it. So happens Samantha stumbles upon a babysitter wanted advertisement and finds herself taking a job in a weird out-of-the-way house. Before the very last minutes of the movie there is no more story progression. Generally, we just see Samantha walking about a lot.

I love suspense movies overall. But suspense is not good on it's own, clearly, it must lead to a juicy finale. Otherwise you might spend time preparing for a killer ending and get nothing in return. Exactly the case with The House of the Devil. The ending is very unsatisfactory, it's just dull. It's also way too abrupt. It's like if you were listening to a very long joke full of unnecessary details, waiting for a killer punchline. But when the joke was over you would realize there wasn't one, and you just killed your valuable time listening to a very long and boring story you'd rather never heard.


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