The older I get the more I believe the adage "if it's too good to be true, it probably is." The job you love doesn't pay well. The person you love only exists in your head. Your pants shrink. Well, maybe not the last one.
Recently I watched two amazing movies back to back. Yes, I'm a bit late to the part on both of them but at least I made it to the party. The House of the Devil (2009) and Wake Wood (2011) are in my opinion two of the best horror films that came out in recent years. I saw them a few days apart and was blown away. I can't remember the last time I saw two new great films back to back.
I was against The House of the Devil from the start. The only other Ti West film I'd seen was The Innkeepers which was a huge let down for me last year. But upon picking up the DVD at the always awesome Eyesore Cinema I decided I needed to see this movie. I'd heard good things from a variety of people and I couldn't not watch it. (Well, yes I could not not watch it but what would I not not watch if I didn't?) Samantha (Jocelin Donahue) is your every day cash strapped college student looking for a quick fix to her money problems. She decides to take a high paying babysitting job just outside of town and from the get go things are not as they appear. The film ingeniously combines the haunted house genre with the Satanic Panic of the 1980s. Oh, this film is shot like it's from the 1980s. I'll admit, I thought I would hate it but I loved it. I LOVED IT, JERRY! It's so subtle, effective and added a lot to the film without being heavy handed. Donahue gives a wonderful performance alongside Tom Noonan and Greta Gerwig. It's a wonderfully fun and unsettling trip down memory lane.
A day later, I popped Wake Wood into my DVD player. Now, Pet Sematary has always scared me. But Wake Wood traumatized me then broke my heart. The film begins with the very, very violent death of Patrick (Aiden Gillen) and Louise(Eva Bristhisle)'s young daughter. A while later they move to the small town of Wake Wood which has a secret. They can bring a loved one back from the dead for 3 days. They will have limited memory but they will be the person you loved. The whole community helps perform the ritual on the condition that you never leave the village. Louise and Patrick decide to bring their daughter back, but as always, sometimes dead is better. It's a thrilling ride with a real emotional core and (again) great performances. Wake Wood matches ambition with pay off.