The Open Door, 2008.
Directed by Doc Duhame.
Starring Catherine Georges, Sarah Christine Smith, Daniel Booko and Ryan Doom.
A high school girl is fed up with her life and her friends and confides in a mysterious pirate radio station for help. Little does she know her life is about to become a nightmare.
When it comes to the world of horror, there are two kinds of film. The first kind of horror films are the ones that really push the barrier for shocks and will stick in your subconscious like a bad smell in a new car. The other kind of horror films, however, are the b-movie style gore-flicks where the story itself is just as flimsy as the execution. The phrase “so bad, it’s good” often comes to mind if you have a sense of irony.
The Open Door is this kind of film. It’s a film so bad, that it becomes an unintentional comedy. I won’t waste too much time fiddling around with the small fragments of story; just think of a version of ‘The Monkey’s Paw’ for frat boys. But replace the simian talisman with a mysterious DJ that is half Freddy Kruger and half Frasier Crane.
From the start, this film feels incredibly cheap. For a start, the editing and camera work ruin the pacing and atmosphere like a drunken, absent-minded uncle telling a horror story. It felt like the momentum of the film was being kept at five miles an hour to drag out some of the ‘filler’ scenes that plague this film.
To make an estimate, about seventy percent of this film's material is redundant, and even if you did compress it, the whole affair would still feel like a particularly bad episode of Buffy. The first fifty minutes of the film could be considered a write off it wasn’t for the five minutes of plot progression within.
I couldn’t decide whether I hated the actors' talent or the characters they played. When the roles aren’t being hammed up beyond measurable proportion, they’re almost forgetting their lines. All too often in the middle of conversation, one of the annoying teenagers would look like they’ve just remembered some life saving information all of a sudden before discarding it and carrying on, hoping that no one will notice.
Without being too mean, I found myself in hysterical laughter more times than in hysterical fear. There was only one jumpy moment and it was pretty clichéd. If I was to have a meeting with Doc (The Director) about how he could have improved this film, then I would have sat him down and gone through each of the many chances that he missed a chance to raise the tension. Hell, even a few cheap shocks would have worked.
One scene that will stick with me however was where a glass of milk starts sliding slowly across a table causing everyone to act terrified. Even the music started to boom to a scary tone in a last ditch attempt to convince me that this is what people should be frightened of in a horror film.
Whilst The Open Door is a perfect example at how to not do a horror film, I wouldn’t rule this out for renting on a drunken Friday night so everyone can all laugh together at something. In some sarcastic way, I’m intrigued by Doc Duhame’s future plans as a director.
Will Preston is a student at the University of Portsmouth. He writes for various blogs (including his own website), presents a weekly radio show on PURE FM and makes various short films.
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