Ah, it’s good to see Ti West (House of the Devil, The Innkeepers) doing what he does best - slick, slowburn throwbacks to old school horror movies.
His latest follows a group of six in 1979 America who rent an isolated house in the middle of nowhere, with a secret plan to make a porn movie. But the house is owned by a strange old man and his wife who live in the big old dilapidated house next door. It’s clear not all is right, and when night hits the inevitable bloodshed begins.
A24 is known for its ‘elevated’ horror, but this might be one of the most straightforward genre pieces they’ve made - a proper homage to the likes of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. But Ti West livens things up with some spectacular and imaginative direction. Surprising editing choices that feverishly and rapidly cut between different images; a wild and playful split-screen sequence; really cool camera choices such as an ominous overhead shot of the lead (Mia Goth) swimming in a lake, unaware of an unwelcome visitor; and even some top-tier needle drops deployed in surprising places. It all looks and sounds great, from the very first shot which has a delightful aspect ratio gag.
Some of the stuff with the old couple threatens to become very silly (they’re so covered in make up the camera never actually shows them in full light), but it is a very playful and funny film at the same time. With lots of sex that inevitably triggers some brutal kills (and some sly commentary on hypocritical American morality in the process), it’s been a while since I’ve seen a horror film that loyally follows the genre template while still using a host of imaginative directorial and filmmaking choices to really spice things up. And as his past work has shown, Ti West is a master of building towards the inevitable - the first hour of this is all dread and set up, before the guts eventually start being spilled.
Saw this yesterday and left a comment in the recently watched thread.
A horror movie that was also strangely moving. I'm still thinking about it today. A beautifully made film that I can't wait to watch again.
I agree, it was very well made, a ton of fun, and the core theme was indeed thought provoking. As mentioned previously it's a surprisingly straight forward genre production and as such fairly predictable....but it's an absolute thrill ride from start to finish and the little touches really set it apart.
For a film of this type, I'd say it's a genuine 9/10.