House Of The Devil, The

Featured In Issue 147, March/April 2010

WSR Score3.5
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Some bloody violence
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Single Side, Single Layer (BD-25)
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Ti West
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DTS HD Lossless 5.1
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The House Of The Devil is a demonic thriller. Desperate for quick cash, college sophomore Samantha Hughes (Donahue) takes a babysitting job in the isolated mansion of the creepy Ulman family. Ignoring the warnings from her best friend (Gewig), Samantha has no idea that a nightmare of unspeakable fear and torment awaits her within these walls. At midnight, in the shadow of a full lunar eclipse, the ultimate evil will be unleashed. (Gary Reber)

Special features include commentary with Ti West and Jocelin Donahue; commentary with Ti West,
producers, and crew; two featurettes: In The House Of The Devil (SD 13:34) and Behind The House Of The Devil (HD 04:40); three deleted scenes (SD 06:42); and the theatrical trailer.

The 1.78:1 1080p AVC picture is sourced from 16 mm film and nicely emulates the feel of horror films from the 1980s, as was the filmmakers' intent. The images are darkly rendered throughout, with at times, faintly revealing shadow delineation and murky blacks. But the effect is creepy and gritty feeling, with effective tension communicated as the story unfolds. Slight grain is noticeable, but this contributes to the 16 mm's overall soft appearance, which is intended. At times, close-ups reveal good detail in facial features and object textures. The color palette is warm, with essentially faded hues and occasional vivid renderings for effect. Due to the inherent dark nature of the cinematography, the film should be viewed in a completely dark room, preferably a black room environment, to fully enhance the horrific imagery. This is a terrific horror film that effectively is haunting throughout and well produced. The picture is faithful to the filmmakers' intent and is sure to please fans of the genre. (Gary Reber)

The DTS-HD Master Audio™ 5.1-channel soundtrack is a very effective complement to the horrific storytelling and the intended 1980's horror genre. The music score is dynamic and sweepingly holosonic® with its aggressive surround envelopment. While the surround channels are, at times, appropriately enhanced with haunted house ambiance effects during the most intense segments, generally, except for the music, the soundtrack is frontal focused. Dialogue, however, is nicely integrated spatially, which is interestingly often the case in lower-budget productions. Bass extension in one scene is intensely deep and powerful, extending to well below 25 Hz in the .1 LFE channel. If you want to really create the experience, the sonic aesthetics of the 1980's stereo presentations play the PCM 2.0-channel soundtrack, which is less intense and sounds harsh and distorted, as well as forward and compressed. (Gary Reber)