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Review: The House of the Devil

The '80s revival hits the horror genre
By BRETT MICHEL  |  December 2, 2009
2.5 2.5 Stars


Have you walked near a college campus lately? You might notice that the ’80s are creeping into fashion, the way the ’70s did a few years back, and with the same lack of irony. It’s happening in cinemas, too — something that’s not entirely unwelcome when it comes to the horror genre.

Suspense is in, gore is out — just compare the box-office grosses for writer/director Oren Peli’s Paranormal Activity with the anemic returns from the latest Saw entry. Less is more, and writer/director/editor Ti West knows it — until he forgets near the end of this babysitter-in-peril nailbiter.

College student Samantha (Jocelin Donahue), all feathered hair and mom jeans, might remind you of Margot Kidder in The Amityville Horror — which seems about right, given this film’s ’80s-set creepy-house tableau. Tom Noonan and Mary Woronov are just right (or wrong) as her employers, the Ulmans, but the film doesn’t get dark enough. Strange, since it’s set during a lunar eclipse.

Related: Review: Broken Embraces [Los Abrazos Rotos], Review: Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, Review: A Nightmare on Elm Street, More more >
  Topics: Reviews , Entertainment, Entertainment, Mary Woronov,  More more >
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