Horror throwback The House of the Devil thrills and chills (1)

Is Jocelin Donahue this generation’s Jamie Lee Curtis?

An amusing YouTube montage culls the horror films of the 2000s for all the clichés of conveniently inoperative cell phones: “No service!” “I can’t get a signal!” etc. The new cult film The House of the Devil avoids such contrivances by taking place in the mid-1980s and finding menace in a clunky rotary dial and a sinister pay phone on a college campus.

http://www.avclub.com/articles/ti-west,38002/" rel="external">Writer/director Ti West winks at the era’s fashions, local news trends and even movie-credit styles, but The House of the Devil is deadly serious as a tribute to 1970s and ’80s lo-fi horror styles. Released on DVD Feb. 2, The House of the Devil makes its Atlanta theatrical debut Feb. 15-21 at Georgia State University’s Cinefest.

Like Sam Raimi’s grisly romp Drag Me to Hell, The House of the Devil introduces a heroine who cuts some ethical corners out of financial necessity. College sophomore Samantha (Jocelin Donahue), however, makes a more sympathetic protagonist than Alison Lohman’s grasping loan officer. She just wants to raise money to rent her own apartment and escape a roommate who spends all her time in bed either snoring or “socializing.” Samantha responds to a “Baby$itter Wanted” flier and jumps at a high-paying gig at a remote Victorian mansion for an eccentric couple, played by cult actors Tom Noonan and Mary Woronov.

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(Photo Dark Sky Films)