Ti West is an American director, producer, writer, editor, and occasional actor. He is most known for his work in the horror film genre. His movies include The Roost, The Innkeepers, The House of the Devil, and The Sacrament. He is also also the director of an upcoming Western film called In the Valley of Violence, which is scheduled to be released on December 4th, 2015. In terms of acting, he either does small roles in his own films or plays leading roles in the movies of his friend Joe Swanberg (who in tern plays leading roles in Ti West movies). His movies up to this point have been low budget films, but he seems to be making growth as his next film will star Ethan Hawke, John Travolta, and Karen Gillian. Even though he directed Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever (a sequel to the Eli Roth film), he has since then disowned that film because of heavy studio involvement and re-editing. The films he is most known for contain his trademark use of the slow build up, with the first act usually giving character development, the second act usually focusing on the build up of suspense and the feeling of dread, and the third act is where the problems get revealed and the characters struggle to face those problems. Because of the use of slow build up, many people have trouble getting into his films. Most horror films today combine the build up of fear and dread during the introduction and development of characters, making it hard for the audience to care about the characters when bad things start to happen. He also purposely avoids heavy use of jump scares for mystery and memorable images. This is why I am a fan of his work. He is obviously influenced by guys like Hitchcock and Polanski. I am very interested to see how his career grows over time.
The Roost (2005):
Trigger Man (2007):
Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever (2009):
The House of the Devil (2009): 8.15/10
– For a detailed review about The House of the Devil, click the link below:
The Innkeepers (2011): 8.25/10
– The Innkeepers takes the momentum gathered up from The House of the Devil and takes it in a different direction. The setting is present day and takes place in a hotel right in the middle of the town (as opposed to a remote house in the woods). However, the interior of the hotel benefits the movie because it is an old hotel which feels like a different time period, offering this culture clash as the two main characters are constantly on their electronic devices throughout the course of the film. The film follows Claire (Sara Paxton) and Luke (Pat Healy), two young employees at the Yankee Pedlar Inn, a once-grand hotel that is about to close (The Yankee Pedlar Inn is an actual hotel in Torrington, Connecticut that was built in 1891 and supposedly in haunted). Claire and Luke are the only employees working the hotel during its final weekend of operation. Many of the floors have already been closed down. Clair has dropped out of college and Luke runs a website that chronicles the hotel’s hauntings. Both are ghost hunting enthusiasts and have basic ghost hunting equipment. They take this final weekend to finally experience a sighting of a ghost. They try to communicate with the ghost of Madeline O’ Malley, a bride who hung herself in the hotel in the 1800s when her husband abandoned her on their honeymoon and her body was supposedly hid in the hotel basement. The film offers a lot of moments that could have been filled with jump scares in the hands of another director, but Ti West takes his time. It makes use of a hotel that is mostly empty, but still allows any instance to be the working of a ghost or of one of the few remaining guests that are residing on the first couple of floors. The history of the hotel is very interesting, and the images towards the end of the movie are very memorable as the two start to regret ever going in search of the paranormal (still unsure if they are experiencing anything out of the ordinary). The movie has great self restraint and the acting is pretty good. Better than House of the Devil in my opinion with room to grow still.
The Sacrament (2013): 8.5/10
– The Sacrament was a film that I knew very little about going into, other than that it was a Ti West film. By this time (with films like The House of the Devil and The Innkeepers), he had my trust that he would deliver a solid horror movie. With a title like The Sacrament, I was expecting to go into a film that was making use of the recent trend of demon and exorcism films. I ended up watching something a little different than I expected, and way more realistic. The movie follows two journalists named Sam and Jake (played by A.J. Bowen and Joe Swanberg) who are documenting the journey of their co-worker Patrick (played by Kentucker Audley) as he attempts to locate his sister Caroline (played by Amy Seimetz). Caroline is a recovering drug addict who has moved to a reclusive religious commune known as Eden Parish. It is a drug free community founded by a religious leader known as “Father”. She sent Patrick a letter inviting him to come visit her, and so the three of them decide to document it. They arrive by helicopter and meet up with Caroline who shows them around the village that they have created. Caroline and Patrick catch up and Sam and Jake interview as many people as they can. The people there seem to be very happy with the living situation. They tell stories about how they were not happy with their lives and this change was the best thing for them. They even get to meet “Father” and have an interview with him in front of all the residents. Things start taking a turn for the worst as they find out that Eden Parish is not all it seems to be, and that the people might not be as happy as they seem. The acting is really good and the comparisons with the real life events that happened in Jonestown, Guyana in 1978 make the film extremely uneasy. Probably my favorite Ti West film so far and a great example of how the found footage genre of horror movies can be done right instead of wrong.