The House of the Devil 2009

Critics score:
86 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune: Even the familiar tropes of The House of the Devil are familiar in the right way, like an old, bloodstained sweater. Read more

Scott Von Doviak, Fort Worth Star-Telegram/ More concerned with stretching nail-biting suspense to the breaking point than finding new ways of making heads explode. Read more

Keith Uhlich, Time Out: When the Karo syrup finally hits the fan, the film loses its footing some, but only because no concrete explanations could possibly do justice to West's expert buildup. Read more

Noel Murray, AV Club: From the opening statistic about documented instances of devil-worship, West aims for a mix of the plausible and the ridiculous... Read more

Ty Burr, Boston Globe: West, a rising young director of minor cult pleasures, comes clean here about his love for all things Bava (Mario) and Carpenter (John). Read more

Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times: West's assured way with widescreen framing, long takes and silences followed by sharp if explainable noise are almost cruelly funny in their heart-stopping pleasures. Read more

David Germain, Associated Press: 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. Read more

J. R. Jones, Chicago Reader: In keeping with his models, West is concerned with not suspense exactly but the ritual withholding and ultimate lavishing of bloody chaos. Read more

Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly: 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. Read more

Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger: A slightly faster set-up, and slightly more drawn-out climax, would make this even better. Read more

Kyle Smith, New York Post: Although the payoff is creepy, it takes a little too long to arrive -- and when it does, it's about as worn-out as the movie's title. Read more

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times: The film may provide an introduction for some audience members to the Hitchcockian definition of suspense: It's the anticipation, not the happening, that's the fun. Read more

Stephanie Zacharek, The House of the Devil is really a romance: a love letter to the kind of gal we thought had given up the ghost. Read more

Peter Hartlaub, San Francisco Chronicle: There's a payoff in The House of the Devil, if you have the patience. Some of the scenes seem draggy, but the characters are complex, and their motivations are explained. Read more

David Jenkins, Time Out: The film's nostalgic design is subtle enough not to dampen the seriously sinister atmospherics. Read more

Claudia Puig, USA Today: 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. Read more

Peter Debruge, Variety: Call it the best '80s babysitter-in-peril movie never made. Read more

Nick Pinkerton, Village Voice: 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. Read more