Metascore
73

Generally favorable reviews - based on 18 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 18
  2. Negative: 0 out of 18
  1. It is a fine little old-school thriller.
  2. There's wit but never a wink in this smartly shot production, which pays homage to the 1980s without fetishizing the era.
  3. 83
    If nothing else, Ti West’s retro “Satan rules!” thriller The House Of The Devil gets the look and tone of early-’80s horror schlock exactly right.
  4. West is far more adept at and interested in sustaining an unrelentingly ominous mood than in executing the genre-required spook shocks.
  5. 80
    A clever picture, and something of a novelty -- it's not going to change the face or direction of horror filmmaking in any drastic way. But it's fun to watch something that's so obviously made with love.
  6. Reviewed by: Andy Klein
    80
    The buildup is undeniably effective; for most of the movie, it provides the same kind of thrills as "Paranormal Activity," if somewhat less brilliantly.
  7. Mr. West shows a real gift for the genre, particularly in his ability to generate dread with pinpricks rather than bludgeoning shocks, something even veterans twice his age have difficulty achieving. After years of vivisectionist splatter, here is a horror movie with real shivers.
  8. 75
    The film may provide an introduction for some audience members to the Hitchcockian definition of suspense: It's the anticipation, not the happening, that's the fun.
  9. This isn't just a good throwback satanic thriller - it looks as if it was made during the era of satanist paranoia.
  10. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    75
    An almost fetishistic re-creation of a horror-suspense movie from around 1978.
  11. Writer and director Ti West accesses all the hot buttons for fans of the genre in a manner that doesn't make fun of it (and its followers) in a "Scary Movie" way, but instead treats it with the appropriate amount of respect. (Key word: appropriate.)
  12. Reviewed by: Nick Pinkerton
    70
    Pumping the audience with inhale-exhale zooms and out-of-the-way close-ups, director Ti West's ratcheting of suspense in this alone-in-an-empty-house tale is proficient, if not psychologically piercing, in the best "Let's Scare Jessica to Death" fashion.
  13. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    70
    Call it the best '80s babysitter-in-peril movie never made. The House of the Devil delivers about as much as one could reasonably hope from the not-quite-alone-in-the-house category, with the bonus of authentically re-creating the low-budget look and feel of that era's classic horror entries.
  14. 70
    In keeping with his models, West is concerned with not suspense exactly but the ritual withholding and ultimate lavishing of bloody chaos.
  15. 67
    By far the freakiest and most unnerving shocker in theatres this season.
  16. 63
    Although the payoff is creepy, it takes a little too long to arrive -- and when it does, it's about as worn-out as the movie's title.
  17. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    63
    The result can be palpably unnerving.
  18. This is the perfect illustration of the banality of most scare movies.
User Score
6.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 48 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 13
  2. Negative: 2 out of 13
  1. TarekM.
    Jan 1, 2010
    10
    Finally a correct homage to the 80's horror flicks without any stupid quotes or irony. Rock on Ti West!
  2. Dec 10, 2011
    4
    It does indeed build an intensity via nostalgic 80's occult angst but it drags out for far too long for so little reward. The leading lady performance is plausible but she cannot single handedly float the film out of it's disappointing anti-climax. It does have that one good 'jump' moment worth missed heartbeat or two. Full Review »
  3. May 23, 2011
    7
    Regarding the buzz 'bout it paying tribute to the classics, I agree with it. I saw the clear influences of Polanski especially his film Rosemary's Baby. It didn't meet my expectations but I still thought it was good. It's clever and the tension slowly builds up until you're left with a disturbing and inexplicable climax. Full Review »