Saturday, September 22, 2012
House of the Devil (2009)
A good friend of mine and his ol' gal, who are HUGE 70's/80's horror film fanatics, told me to check this one out . Truth is , I had seen the DVD somewhere before them mentioning it and for some reason felt a positive vibe beaming out from within the case so it was a no brainer for me to check it out upon hearing my friends earnest suggestions. Any leeriness creeping under my skin was completely blasted away when the movie title popped up on the screen. Fuck yeah. This was going to be interesting indeed!
Anyone familiar with my earlier and highly jaded rants should well know that I fucking HATE modern horror cinema. That's NOT to say that there haven't been a few gems carefully hidden throughout the last decade or two but they are far and few between . Amidst the lifeless and fly ridden heaps of diseased shit that have been pumped fourth since somewhere in that plane of desolation commonly referred to as the 90's there have been false prophets claiming to understand our collective suffering and having in their command the means to and intention of bringing us all back to that long lost and forgotten paradise of filmmaking that Hollywood and its countless legions of braindead dumbfuck zombie followers have spent the last two decades shifting us further away from and of course in our dismay there have been many who have bought into the illusion out of sheer desperation . The Rob Zombie flicks , the Wrong Turns , etc . Even the much heralded return of genre icons such as Romero , Argento and Carpenter have produced films that have come up painfully short . As I mentioned earlier , there have been some winners buried within the dungheap such as 28 Days (and Weeks) Later, Planet Terror, Haute Tension, The Hills Have Eyes remake and a few others. The House of the Devil definitely stands amongst the few and the righteous.
It's always good to see someone had the nerve to cast the like of Tom Noonan. Anyone familiar with Manhunter (the ORIGINAL film adaptation of Thomas Harris' Red Dragon) and Robocop 2 knows the creep factor Noonan exudes is un-fucking-deniable! Forget the clever and witty musings of Sir Homo Lecter. Noonan is where the fuck it's at! Just like I'll never understand how everyone gags out wide eyed praise of Hopkins performance in Silence of the Lambs when Ted Levine (Buffalo Bill/Jame Gumb) blew him out into fucking orbit in terms of creepy weirdo-isms! Not too mention the realism of his performance. I guarantee you there are a million Buffalo Bills out there right next door to you, on the other hand, how many Hannibal Lectors do you really believe are plotting out elaborate escape plans from prison , dodging worldwide manhunts and coughing out witty oneliners on the constant?
Back to the beast here, although I stand behind this film and I do think it largely succeeds where many others have failed that is not to say that it is devoid of flaws. There seems to be a sort of text book look filmmakers go for when it comes to monsters or demons, etc. I don't know who originally set the template for this but that template needs to be smashed, obliterated and forgotten . I am referring of course to the look of the Grandmother who is the only character in the film to feature any sort of extensive make up job . The look is something I've noticed alot of directors and producers go for as of late . It's not a terribly creepy or fantastic image and frankly I think they could've gotten their point across by merely hiring some decrepit old bat down at the local soup kitchen.
Another "minor" complaint of mine is the "acting" on the part of the younger cast members. There is something about people who were born into a generation that walks around with their face glued to a fucking cell phone all day that makes me want to kick them right in the fucking neck. Their speech mannerisms and overall demeanor make me wanna puke acid all over their weak, pussified fucking faces and then shove their cell phones right up their cunts, DiSalvo style. Any-fucking-ways, I thought the satanic cult theme was pretty groovy seeing how that whole concept is severely lacking in today's cinema . Yeah sure , there's been tons of "demonic force gonna rain on your parade and end the world today" kinda flicks where some dork like Nicholas Cage or Keanu Reeves has to come in with their over exposed ass and save everyone from getting buttfucked by some evil fireball asteroid. Barf. The other groovy touch is that it was filmed in Connecticut, my homestate (incidentally, Noonan's as well). CT has a rather obscure but rich history in the genre with movies such as Friday the 13th 2, Last House on the Left (72) and I Spit on Your Grave (78) having been filmed there. Growing up in CT I can tell you that there are some really spooky places up there and in New England in general and it makes for a truly spectral atmosphere, something the filmmakers here were obviously looking for and undoubtedly obtained. Despite it's flaws, of which there aren't many, The House of the Devil really works. Going more for feeling rather than big budget Hollywood "shock & awe" tactics, they really nailed it with this and I can only hope that they continue on down this path in the future.