A fragmented bundle of story pieces, At the Devil's Door doesn't add up
as the sum of its parts.
The film effectively opens with a runaway teenage girl in the arms of a teenage boy in what looks to be a mobile home in the desert. He takes her to play a shell game unlike she's ever played and wins $500. While at her home later she is viciously attacked by an unknown force. Fast forward to Leigh, a hardworking real estate agent trying to sell the very house the girl in the last scene was attacked. While surveying the house she comes across the girl, who we believe is the daughter of the couple selling the house, and becomes the target of the ominous supernatural force; unknowingly bringing her sister Vera into its sights as well.
That convoluted summary and plot description is due to the plot being a loosely jumbled mess. To call At The Devil's Door a narrative would be an offense to all other narratives because it is so discordant from a typical plot. Nicholas McCarthy desperately and ineffectually tries to splice the tale together loosely by connecting the satanic undertone throughout. For a film marketing itself as a 'horror' it shies away from the truly terrifying aspects of demonic rage as a satanic being clamors to take a human form and is underwhelmingly tame.
At The Devil's Door is unnecessarily overcomplicated and contrived in trying to be different from typical demonic possession films. Incoherent perplexing chunks of the film should have been amputated and reevaluated. Editors are resigned to fade to black scenes to attempt to piece together a film with no cohesive plot direction. The fragmented plot and poorly conceptualized screenplay by McCarthy is only highlighted further by the forced dialogue between the characters.
Further, there are three protagonists. There is a formula to horrors and supernatural thrillers, a very simple formula, you must have one clear protagonist for the audience to follow. Ashley Rickards is great as the disturbed teen assaulted in the first scene who menacingly skulks about, tormented by the decision she makes to allow this dark force to enter her life. The next protagonist Leigh, played by Catalina Sandino Moreno, unfortunately gets featured far too much and further splinters the story. The film could have contained a single scene with her as a minor character in order to connect Rickards' plot to Vera, the sister, played by Naya Rivera. If it were not for the sufficient performances of Rickards and Rivera this film would be unwatchable. Once Vera is the primary focus for the film it picks up slightly but pathetically shuffles its way to a weak finale.
At The Devil's Door is a bland and disjointed interpretation of the hellish thrillers of yesteryear when humanity was afraid of losing its soul to Satan. With no clear plot and no serious scares it expediently fast forwards through the various shorts attempting to be key plot events to an ending the audience can not care or be invested.
At the Devil's Door
Action / Horror
At the Devil's Door
Action / Horror
When ambitious young real estate agent Leigh is asked to sell a house with a checkered past, she crosses paths with a disturbed girl whom she believes is the runaway daughter of the couple selling the property. When Leigh tries to intervene and help her, she becomes entangled with a supernatural force that soon pulls Leigh's artist sister Vera into its web - and has sinister plans for both of them.
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November 23, 2014 at 08:27 PM