The House of the Devil Reviews
Writer-director Ti West's crisp, economical, satisfying little horror pic reclaims the pleasures of the kind of old-school formula that the jokey Scream franchise deconstructed into satire.
West avoids cliche and cheesiness with wise casting choices. Donahue's naturalistic performance is as persuasive as the subtly sinister portrayals by Tom Noonan and Mary Woronov.
Gravely gorgeous in the style of a storybook Snow White, Donahue gives eloquent reaction shots and nails West's piece de resistance -- a bounding, Walkman-soundtracked, Jazzercise dance through the house.
In the end, this homage to '80s horror is little more than a faithful flashback -- authentic in execution but about as scary as something you saw again and again way back when.
The House of the Devil isn't just a movie: it's an experience. It joins the league of Rosemary's Baby, The Exorcist and The Omen as one of the most diabolical entries in the modern horror library.
If you don't get a kick out of watching doomed babysitter Samantha put on that portable cassette player and dance around that creepy house to the strains of the Fixx's "One Thing Leads to Another," you might need a course in Horror Appreciation 101.