has an average rating of 6.7 on IMDb
1080p in AVC MPEG-4 on a 25gb disc
DTS-HD 5.1 MA & PCM 2.0 Stereo
are a bit short but still worthwhile
– 95 minutes
– Dark Sky Films (MPI)
This uses 19.1GB for the movie out of 21.4GB total.
Street Date: February 2nd, 2010
Overall Verdict – Recommended
— Review written by: Justin Sluss —
The Movie Itself starts up with this message:
During the 1980s over 70% of American adults believed in the existence of abusive Satanic Cults…
Another 30% rationalized the lack of evidence due to government cover ups…
The following is based on true unexplained events…
“The House of the Devil” was written, directed and edited by Ti West. The film is a classic throwback visually to the horror films from the mid to late 1970′s and especially those from the 1980′s — in which the film happens to take place. The great thing about this film that accomplishes that classic throwback visually is the fact (as I’ll discuss further in video quality below) this was shot on old school 16mm film such as horror classics like “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” or “Black Christmas” — originals of course, not the remakes. The story revolves around a girl in her late teens or early twenties by the name of “Samantha” played by Jocelin Donahue. Samantha as we see her in the beginning of the film is looking at an apartment that is essentially a sectioned off area of a large house. One would see the film’s cover art or originally poster and assume that this film is going to be about a haunted house. It is in fact not about a haunted house but that is cool that it can actually lead you to thinking that, as even critic Roger Ebert cited himself in his theatrical review of the film.
Speaking of the film being able to fool you, I would like to point out even here in my assessment of the movie that this film with the cover art and its unique “old school” grainy visual style can actually fool folks into thinking that it actually is a film from the 1980′s. That in my honest opinion is a really cool thing for the writer, director and even editor Ti West to think about. Anyway, back to the film itself and the plot. Our leading lady Samantha lives on campus in a dorm where she (obviously) attends college. She shares a dorm room with another roommate, who is a very sloppy, slutty girl who always has boys over. This girl as the roommate totally conflicts with our leading lady, who is a very neat and frankly seems to be still a virgin. It is obvious she is hating her time at college mainly due to just this living arrangement. She is desperate to get her own apartment as we see in the beginning of the film, but she needs some extra cash to be able to pay for the apartment. She sees a flier on the bulletin board on campus for a babysitter job and calls to only get an answering machine on which she leaves a formal message. She uses the pay phone on the campus to make this call and then walks off. We are immediately startled, just as she is by the pay phone ringing. She turns around and goes back and answers the phone. It is the person who is seeking a babysitter and that is where I will honestly end my synopsis to avoid any (further) spoilers.
In closing, “The House of the Devil” is an impressive horror film in a very retro throwback way to the films from the late 70′s and 80′s as I mentioned above. A lot of folks felt this didn’t start to really get scary until too late in the film, I on the other hand loved the fact that it built up its suspense and took its time along the way to give us some back story to Samantha, so that we (as the audience) would actually want her to survive the film. Now obviously, I cannot tell you if she does or does not survive the film as that is the biggest spoiler imaginable but I will tell you that the film has its scary side to it. My favorite element though is not so much the film’s scary side as much as its actual throwback to the retro horror films I grew up on as a kid and have enjoyed ever since. I commend Ti West on what is in my own honest opinion a job very well done. I look forward to his future projects, he is definitely a very visionary personal in terms of writing and directing.
Video Quality on this release is in full 1080p using the AVC MPEG-4 codec on a BD-25 (25 gigabyte single layer Blu-ray Disc) in the 1.78:1 aspect ratio. As IMDb clearly states under the technical specifications for the aspect ratio, this was shot on old-school 16mm film and that is why it has that extremely vintage feel to it. I at first, when viewing the film, thought that it had been shot digitally and then a series of filters and such had been applied in post-production but apparently I am wrong. The bonus materials here lack an audio commentary and the few featurettes really have no mention of using 16mm cameras (aside from actually showing one close-up on more than a few occasions) or any mention of post-production visual filters. The amount of film grain is heavy but in a very cool vintage 1970′s or 1980′s horror film way. The opening credits also are very retro and remind me of something that would excite even the big man himself, Quentin Tarantino. Unlike Tarantino‘s film (“Death Proof“) from his “Grindhouse” retro double-feature extravaganza with Robert Rodriguez, this film actually pulls off an almost flawless retro presentation that can actually fool some folks into thinking it was a film from the time period it is set in; that is if they don’t look at the copyright date on the back of the packaging or on IMDb.
This amazing retro visual presentation comes much thanks to the wonderful work of the DP (Directory of Photography) Eliot Rockett. I really cannot find anything here to complain about in the video quality but I won’t say that is 100% flawless or demo material either. I will say however it is a very impressive visual presentation, thanks to its throwback to old horror films and it looks really great to be from a 16mm source. Speaking of it being from 16mm source, it really contains a great amount of detail, especially in close-ups which is impressive for 16mm. The black level is solid here which is always key in a horror film, the fleshtones are accurate and the color palette although a tad subdued is at times somewhat vibrant. “The House of the Devil” earns a solid “4 Star Rating” for overall video quality.
Audio Quality on this release is presented in both DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio and Uncompressed Linear PCM 2.0 Stereo. Things start up with the film’s original music done by Jeff Grace which gets a good presentation in the 5.1 mix, with some decent rear channel presence and good LFE (bass). The dialogue is delivered very distinctly throughout the film and requires no volume adjustments. The film’s audio presentation is never really too over the top unless it needs to be, to put you on the edge of your seat, which it does when the time comes. Overall there’s nothing to complain about her but also nothing too overly impressive with the 5.1 presentation. It does a bit more than get the job done, especially for a horror film of this style, earning “The House of the Devil” a solid “4 Star Rating” for overall audio quality.
Bonus materials are presented in both 1080i High Definition (HD) and Standard Definition video with Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo sound @256kbps.
- Audio Commentary with Director & Cast
- Audio Commentary with Director, Producers & Designers
- Trailer (2:08 – SD)
- “Deleted Scenes” (6:42 – SD) prove to really be probably have been better off left on the cutting room floor.
- “In The House of the Devil” (13:34 – SD) is the more in-depth of the behind-the-scenes or making of style featurettes. It includes interviews with the cast and crew as well as behind-the-scenes footage and such.
- “Behind The House of the Devil” (4:40 – HD) is a behind-the-scenes making of featurette with interviews from writer/director Ti West as well as cast members Jocelin Donahue, AJ Bowen, Greta Gerwig and Mary Woronov.
Overall, the bonus materials are a tad bit short but they do prove to be very worthwhile. If you enjoyed the film you will be happy with the fact you get the 2 audio commentary tracks (both of which include director Ti West) as well as the deleted scenes and featurettes.
Blu-ray Disc packaging:
NOTE: The full-sized 1920×1080 files are in a .PNG file format and uncompressed. Bare with the slow loading times, keep in mind these files are at least 1MB (1 megabyte) in size each.