The last time a film crept up and surprised me was way back when I watched Session 9, Brad Anderson’s slow creeper, now At The Devil’s Door joins that list. An atmospheric and scary demonic flick that always has you on edge because basically it doesn’t play by any rules, regular structure is gone thus anything can happen.
The film is made up of three slightly interconnecting stories – in that the one thing that interconnects the stories is a house…and a demon. The first part of the film has a young woman Hannah (Ashley Rickards) being convinced to play a Shell game for five hundred bucks….oh and her soul. Of course she selects the correct cup 3 times and is told to say her name out loud at the end of the road they are on, so ‘he’ knows her name when he comes for her…back at home she thinks something is in her closet – which is a very, very effective scene – and when it attacks her, we are then thrust into the future – 10 years maybe, this is a downside and an upside, much like Ju-on’s structure of skipping ahead in time or switching of main characters, without being explicitly told of this, it does unsettle you but also you have no idea just what is going on, so whilst you are trying to play catch up as there which takes you out of the story a little. However for me it really worked especially within the confines of this film.
The film is chock full of creepy imagery and almost from the get-go it has an atmosphere of impending doom, almost as if there is no hope that anything good will come out of this. The three leads are all very good, Rickards managing to exude a creepy vibe when needed whilst Rivera and Moreno do very well with their characters, giving them a bit of spice despite some fairly vanilla writing. The great atmosphere created does cover some of the cracks in the story like the super chunk of exposition that is ladled out just before the 3rd act begins.
Despite a few issues, writer and director Nicholas McCarthy has created a very atmospheric and dread filled flim. At The Devil’s Door is a freaky demon flick, that doesn’t go to deep into its characters but certainly keeps you on the edge of your sit due to its unpredictable nature. The film will probably end up being under seen but that’s ok it can be one of those horror gems you watch on a rainy, windy night and end up loving.
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Images: wikipedia.com & sightonsound.org