Bloody Disgusting has received an updated spec list for Dark Sky Films’ forthcoming DVD/Blu-ray release of Ti West’s The House of the Devil, which arrives at a retailer near you on February 2. The DVD and Blu-ray special features will include: 5.1 English Audio;English and Spanish subtitles; feature-length commentary with writer-director-editor Ti West and actress Jocelin Donahue; feature-length commentary with writer-director-editor Ti West, producers Larry Fessenden and Peter Phok, and sound designer Graham Reznick; “In The House of the Devil”; “Behind the House of the Devil”; Theatrical Trailer; Deleted Scenes.A creaky Victorian mansion, a graveyard, a lunar eclipse and a pretty college girl: all the elements of classic ‘80s horror are back – with a modern twist – in THE HOUSE OF THE DEVIL. Hot young writer-director Ti West (“The Roost,” “Cabin Fever 2”) sets his tale in the early 1980s and he creates an old-school atmosphere of dread and “satanic panic” that rivals the best of that classic era of shockers; the less-is-more approach has been embraced by new audiences, as proven by the phenomenal success of the similarly unsettling “Paranormal Activity.” THE HOUSE OF THE DEVIL, starring cult figures Tom Noonan and Mary Woronov, as well as some fresh new faces of fear, arrives on disc from Dark Sky Films and MPI Media Group on February 2, 2010.
Fans of scare classics like “When a Stranger Calls” and “Halloween” know that nothing good ever happens when a girl takes a babysitting job. But what fresh new terror awaits the innocent sitter when there aren’t even any children to watch?
THE HOUSE OF THE DEVIL has been hailed by critics everywhere. The New York Times’ Manohla Dargis said West “has come up with a period pastiche that mimics the low-res vibe and look of early-1980s horror. And he’s done it with more shiver than splat. … Mr. West doesn’t just rise to the horrific occasion, he also revels in its simplicity, squeezing chills by turning on the lights, squeaking the floorboards and, in a heart-thumping scene, sending his heroine up the unavoidable stairs. … After years of vivisectionist splatter, here is a horror movie with real shivers.”
Roger Ebert wrote in the Chicago Sun-Times that West is “an admirer of classic horror films and understands that if there’s anything scarier than haunted house, it’s a possibly haunted house.” The Los Angeles Times’ Roger Abele said West “shrewdly uses our entire sense memory of horror movie experiences to bring his seen-it-all audience to a jittery state of unnerving, shoe-dropping anticipation.”
THE HOUSE OF THE DEVIL has a classic, deceptively simple set-up. Samantha (Jocelin Donahue, “He’s Just Not That Into You”), a pretty college sophomore, needs to come up with extra cash to pay the rent in her new apartment. She accepts a babysitting job from Mr. Ulman (Tom Noonan), a tall, creepy man who lives in a gloomy old house located next to a cemetery in the woods. Samantha soon learns that Ulman and his wife (Mary Woronov) don’t even have a child, but Ulman explains that he simply needs Samantha to keep an eye on his elderly mother-in-law while he and his wife go out to celebrate the lunar eclipse.
As the night goes on, old noises in the big house begin to unnerve Samantha. What is really going on with the unseen old woman secured away upstairs? What are the Ulmans really up to out in the woods in the dead of night? And what’s with that other weird Ulman family member, Victor (AJ Bowen), who’s lurking around the old house with mysterious intentions? The only thing that becomes clear to the increasingly terrified Samantha is that she may not make it to sunrise alive.
The cast of THE HOUSE OF THE DEVIL represents a feast for fans of classic horror while also featuring rising names on the American indie scene. Tom Noonan became a cult star in the original Hannibal Lecter film, “Manhunter,” and has spooked audiences ever since in such movies as Sean Penn’s “The Pledge,” “The Monster Squad” and “RoboCop 2”; he also starred in Ti West’s impressive debut feature, “The Roost.” Mary Woronov, whose career began in Andy Warhol films, including the landmark “Chelsea Girls,” has starred in “Silent Night, Bloody Night,” “Chopping Mall,” “Eating Raoul” and “The Devil’s Rejects.” Dee Wallace, who appears as the Landlady, starred in “E.T.” and Stephen King’s “Cujo.”
Meanwhile, Greta Gerwig, who stars in THE HOUSE OF THE DEVIL as Samantha’s best friend, has become the It Girl of the Indies due to her leading roles in “Hannah Takes the Stairs,” “Nights and Weekends” and “Baghead.” AJ Bowen starred in the indie films “Maidenhead” and “Last Goodbye” with David Carradine.
Claudia Puig of USA Today called the film “almost unbearably suspenseful,” and Entertainment Weekly’s Lisa Schwartzman said it “reclaims the pleasures of the kind of old-school formula that the jokey ‘Scream’ franchise deconstructed into satire. There’s wit but never a wink in this smartly shot production.”
Peter Debruge wrote in Daily Variety that THE HOUSE OF THE DEVIL “… auds seeking a stripped-down retro spine-tingler that builds to an intense climax will appreciate what director Ti West has accomplished.”
Peter Hartlaub of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote, “This is art house horror, heavily influenced by the scary movies made before ‘Halloween’ changed the genre.”