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DTV Madness: The House of the DEVIL!!!

After watching 10 minutes of The House of the Devil, I had to do a double take and almost stopped the movie completely. You see, the movie was so eerily similar to Babysitter Wanted that I thought I was watching the same movie.

House tells the story of a young college girl named Samantha who accepts a babysitter ad she saw on campus. She gets to the house with her friend Megan and slowly, things start to get creepy. They arrive at the house to find a certain Mr. and Mrs. Ulman who confess that they don't have a child for Sam to babysit... but rather they need her to babysit their mother. The creepiness factor tips the scale and Sam is reluctant to take the job, but Mr. Ulman offers her $400 dollars to do it because it was of the utmost importance. So $400 for four hours, what could go wrong? Need I mention that this particular night is a full and total eclipse, what could possibly happen?

Like I said, the movie is very similar to Babysitter Wanted, but whereas Babysitter built to a twist in the story, House opted for a more gradual and suspenseful approach to a mystery that we the audience know for sure exists. The movie turns it up a notch once the veil of secrecy is removed. What makes it frightening is that during certain scare scenes, we'll see single frames of demonic faces so that these frightening images are burnt into our subconscious. It is sort of cheap and we've seen it before, but it works.

I love the look and feel of this movie. It takes place sometime during the 70-80's and does a great job of capturing that atmosphere even on its limited budget. Even the opening credits are presented in a cheap 70's style.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the performance of Jocelin Donahue, who played Samantha. She's hands down the cutest girl ever to grace horror movie screens. She's simply great in that innocent college girl role. What sealed the deal was a montage in the middle of the movie where she listens to her walkman (remember those?) and runs around the house doing a wacky dance and just having fun by herself. And I guess she was effective in her role; the cuter she grew the more I didn't want bad things to happen to her. And really, that's the role of the damsel in distress right?

Another surprise was Tom fuckin' Noonan! He plays Mr. Ulman in this movie, but I haven't seen this guy since the early 90's, in Robocop 2 as Cain the nuke addicted drug lord and from Last Action Hero as the Ripper. This was a welcomed surprise and I'm glad he's still doing movies these days.

I can't decide if I like this movie more than Babysitter Wanted. For sure this was a better put together movie, but I did like Babysitter a lot because it was campier (and I do love me some cheese!) and took me by surprise as I had no idea what I was in for. Maybe I like them both equally but for different reasons. I don't know. I just can't decide.

But for sure I really enjoyed this movie and maybe that's good enough! Later gore-hound-geeks!





(Note: If you wanted to see the similarities, the trailer for Babysitter Wanted is [here].)

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