Film / The House of the Devil

The House of the Devil is a 2009 horror film directed by Ti West and starring Jocelin Donahue.

In the 1980s, college student Samantha Hughes takes a strange babysitting job that coincides with a full lunar eclipse. She slowly realizes her clients harbor a terrifying secret. The film is notable for its convincing retraux evocation of old '70s and '80s horror movies.

This movie contain examples of the following tropes:

  • Action Survivor: Samantha becomes one during the final 20 minutes or so, killing both Victor and Mrs. Ulman after freeing herself from her bonds.
  • Arc Words: "Get a grip"
  • Affably Evil: Mr. Ulman. From beginning to end, he never stops being civil and personable.
  • The Antichrist: Implied to be the endgoal of the cult.
  • Big Bad: Mr. Ulman is leading the cult.
  • Big Fancy House: The Ulman's house. Samantha spends a good deal of the film exploring it.
  • Big "NO!": In the climax.
    Mr. Ulman: It's your destiny to accept him.
    Samantha: NO!!!
  • Bungled Suicide: Samantha shoots herself in the head in order to prevent the birth of The Antichrist. It doesn't kill her.
  • Downer Ending: Thanks to the Satanic ritual, Samantha is impregnated with (presumably) The Antichrist. During her final showdown with Mr. Ulman, she shoots herself in the head to prevent the birth from happening. However, it doesn't kill her, and by the end of the film, she is comatose and still pregnant.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Mrs. Ulman is genuinely grief-stricken when she discovers Victor's corpse.
  • Eye Scream: Samantha rams her thumb into Victor's eye, presumably leaving him half-blind, as he grapples her.
  • Jump Scare: Victor Ulman's introduction. What he does later is an even bigger one.
    • Samantha's hallucinations of the priestess's face. TWICE.
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: Poor Megan.
  • Nobody Poops: Averted. At one point Samantha goes to the toilet and her peeing is audible.
  • Nothing but Hits: Three 80's singles are listened to by characters. "One Thing Leads To Another" by The Fixx is well-remembered enough to show up on many 80's hits compilations. On the other hand, "One Of Our Submarines" by Thomas Dolby and "The Breakup Song (They Don't Write 'Em)" by The Greg Kihn Band are a bit more obscure. All three of these songs were released within a few years of each other and would place the film around 1983 or so. And then the soundtrack also uses much more recent music by Gods Of Fire, which is just influenced by 80's metal enough to not stick out too much.
  • Product Placement: When Samantha and Megan are eating pizza near the beginning, they are drinking from large Coca-Cola paper cups.
  • Slashed Throat: Victor Ulman.
  • Slipping a Mickey: Victor Ulman poses as a pizza delivery worker in order to dupe Samantha into eating drugged pizza.
  • Stylistic Suck: The film was shot on 16mm film and was made intentionally to look like an old movie. Expect lots of grain and murky colors.
  • Wham Line: "You're not the babysitter?"
    • We will take care of you. Both of you.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The fate of Mr. Ulman and what exactly happened between Samantha shooting herself and the final scene in the hospital is never elaborated on.
    • He likely died from getting stabbed in the stomach. He was shown leaking copious amount of blood.
  • Would Hurt a Child