The Roost (2005)

the roost
There is something about this movie that just oozes Halloween spirit, besides the fact that the film takes place on Halloween night. The ambiance, opening like a black-and-white 1950’s late-night special, has an old-school vibe, topped off with Twilight Zone style music. The host, draped all in black with an ominous voice, welcomes us to “Channel 13’s Saturday Night Frightmare Theater,” as a woman is heard screaming somewhere in the distant background. “We proudly present tonight’s Creature Feature: The Roost.”

This opening sequence reminds me of House of 1000 Corpses when Captain Spalding introduces us to his Museum of Monsters and Madmen, though House of 1000 Corpses is much raunchier. Both films then switch from black-and-white to color for the the roost moviefeature. It is sometimes hard to decipher what The Roost is actually about, as it jumps around a story centered on four young adults who are stranded in the middle of nowhere after a vehicle accident. Sound familiar to House of 1000 Corpses? It is, except instead of running into a psycho family, they encounter vampiric bats and rabid, zombie-like humans. Or maybe they are zombie bats? I’m not quite sure.

I have a weird, love/hate relationship with this movie. The plot is nonsensical but the mood and atmosphere that filmmaker Ti West creates is unparalleled. This is Ti West’s first feature film. When I first saw this movie years ago, I knew I would be a forever fan, despite the apparent flaws in The Roost. My gut instinct was right because now he is one of the leading filmmakers in horror with The House of the Devil, Cabin Fever 2: Spring Break, The Innkeepers, The Sacrament and segments in V/H/S and The ABCs of Death. You can even catch him as an actor in You’re Next. Basically, Ti West is the man.the roost

In reality, not a lot happens in this movie, but the way that it is filmed is fresh and thoughtful. There is a lack of dialogue between the characters, instead relying on the cameras and sound effects to tell the story. The music arrangement is composed to highlight and accent each scene. The organ pianos precede moments of terror while the screeching violins mimic the sounds of screaming bats. The eerie music emphasizes the macabre atmosphere, making the moments that are supposed to be scary, actually scary. This auditory element adds something special and unforgettable to Ti West’s work. This may be the weakest of his films, but his potential in there, hiding in the shadows, setting a precedence for his future films.

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The Roost (2005) on IMDb

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