Thursday, October 8, 2009



From the first scene THE OPEN DOOR comes out screaming. A zombie-eyed father has his weeping family hostage at gunpoint somewhere in suburban America. The setup leaves the viewer expecting a pedestrian cynical view of the modern American family. What is ultimately delivered is something superior. THE OPEN DOOR is a well-balanced horror movie that salutes horror films from PSYCHO to 70s drive-in fare like THE LOVE BUTCHER to the harder stuff like DEAD ALIVE. At its heart THE OPEN DOOR is a fascinating little story that will leave you wanting more.

THE OPEN DOOR is technically a movie about high school, teenage angst, and sexual tension. Angelica (Catherine Georges) has a crush on Brad (Mike Dunay) and wants to hookup (they don’t call it “going out” anymore). Unfortunately, she is on restriction for staying out past curfew with her snotty, backstabbing friend Staci (Sarah Christine Smith). Staci is out to thwart the Angelica/Brad hookup in order to give the brooding egomaniac Owen (Ryan Doom) a chance at Angelica. Staci plays headgames via cellphone with Angelica making her vulnerable to the forces of darkness. The high school social drama is what makes the horror in this film possible.

A nondescript white van with a serious antenna on the top broadcasts pirate radio from a different location every full-moon. The DJ, wearing a cowl, talks a smooth metaphysical rant to anyone tuning into 99.9 FM. He speaks of taking control of your life and making decisions for yourself. His message is tailor-made for Angelica who is listening in lieu of going to a party. In frustration with her situation Angelica calls the radio show, and her wishes are soon put into motion.

What follows is a series of truly creepy moments that lead to a full-on horror show. Something mean-spirited has been loosed that as the film progresses, becomes less of a trickster and more of a killer. Reminiscent of THE EVIL DEAD, it jumps from body to body. Those that it possesses have the zombie-eyed stare that we see in the first scene. THE OPEN DOOR is very successful at introducing the horror in that opening scene and then re-opening its elements later in the film when they have been all but forgotten.

The effects are fun and concise. There isn’t an abuse of CGI or splatter although both are present. This is a film that maintains a normal pace and then kicks into overdrive with a vengeance. All of that high school drama? Solved. The violence that is unleashed is furious. When this film starts working out its chaotic conclusion, it is fun to keep up with who has been dispatched and who has been simply decommissioned for a spell.

The cast of THE OPEN DOOR really delivers. There is a lot of strength in Catherine Georges’ portrayal of Angelica. Her mousey high-school girl on the cusp of full-bloom awkwardness is conveyed perfectly. Similarly, Daniel Booko as Spike is convincing as Owen’s punk-ass, brainless, thug-lieutenant. Even Doc Duhane, the director of the film is convincing as a man walking his dog while being mooned by Owen and his crew as they drive by.

THE OPEN DOOR is a well-polished independent film with all of the claws and teeth that a full-blown Hollywood horror production carries. THE OPEN DOOR delivers more goods than it initially seems to promise. When it ends and the credits roll, the viewer is left wanting more. Hopefully we will get more because this movie is a franchise waiting to happen.

-Mediasaurus Rex