You May Have Missed: House Of The Devil by @lexx2099

Remember the 1980’s? They were well skill weren’t they? With your high-top trainers and body warmer you were probably pretty cool as you skateboarded down to the awesome new multi-screen cinema that opened in your town, hoping you could scope out some well-wicked flicks and maybe score with some bodacious babes along the way.

So, you pay your £1.50 entrance fee and find that Tim Burton’s Batman is playing on seven screens, and Back to the Future 2 is on the remaining six – woah; totally heinous dude! How’s a hard-core gorehound like you going to get his grue-filled kicks when every decent horror movie has been banned by Maggie Thatcher: Milk Snatcher?!

Well if you were resourceful, you popped down to your local video store/ice cream van, slipped them a tenner and got a dodgy third-hand VHS copy of Evil Dead, and possibly some crap German porn as a bonus. Or you could take the more circuitous route followed by director Ti West; Wait 25 years, then score some ancient filming equipment and film your very own hoary 80’s scarefest – with seriously scary results!

That House of the Devil works at all is testament to the resilience of the themes it explores, using the 80’s ‘Satanic Panic’ epidemic as a backdrop, the film may rely on clich├ęs, but it ignores the crutch of irony completely, instead delivering a sharp shocker that will grumble away in the back of your head, replete with a jouissiant ending for true 80’s compatibility.

Plot-wise we’re on familiar, if skewed, ground, following all-American teen Sophie Hughes (an excellent, fluff-permed Jocalyne Donahue) as she follows up the offer of a baby-sitting gig at a c-c-cer-eeeepy old mansion.


From here on in it’s stock-horror character stupidity all the way, Sophie agreeing to stay on even after the oddball couple who own the place admit they don’t have kids, just a largely-unseen elderly relative parked in the attic, and acquiring clues to a darker secret as strange happenings go bump in the night around her.

Fortunately, West keeps a firm hand on the tiller, never letting things slip into parody. The whole film comes off as a superbly thought-out pastiche that shows both glowing affection for B-level, 80’s crud alongside a brave decision to follow in the footsteps of 70’s classics like Rosemary’s Baby.

Slow-burn dread, with the occasional shocker squirrelled away, House of the Devil offers a genuine return to a genre that Hollywood remakes have all but forgotten how to pull off. This is taught and fun, the ideal date horror movie.

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