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DEATH’S DOOR (2015)
Published by David Carter on 2015/11/15 (544 reads)
Directed by Kennedy Goldsby
Review by David Carter
Released by MVD Visual
Running Time: 102 minutes
Rating: Not Rated
Color format: Color
Audio/Subtitles: 2.0 Stereo English
Region Code: 1, NTSC
Aspect Ratio: Widescreen
16:9 Enhanced: Yes
Special Features: Featurette, music video
Trailer Online: Yes
Kennedy Goldsby’s DEATH’S DOOR was allegedly filmed in an actual haunted house. Cast and crew attest to this in a bonus feature on the film’s DVD, going so far as to tell tales of seeing shadowy figures and rooms that wouldn’t stay warm even when filled with heaters. These claims exist somewhere in the gray area between facts and showmanship that are part and parcel of the horror genre, but having seen the finished product, one wonders if there isn’t a bit of truth to them. Paranormal encounters are bizarre and inexplicable, which is also an apt way to describe DEATH’S DOOR. Experience it for yourself on MVD Visual’s newly released DVD of the film.
Several groups of young people get anonymous text messages inviting them to a party in an imposing old mansion. In time they arrive and begin exploring the mansion, not knowing that those unfortunate souls not directly invited to the party have been murdered by a massive man (Tiny Lister) roaming the halls. Tensions soon rise between the dozen partiers remaining, and when two hot-headed young men attempt to take a disagreement outside the group learns that they are trapped.
Panic naturally ensues as the group searches for a way out and argues amongst themselves about the best way to handle the situation. As they do this, more strange things begin to occur, including a few of the teens having visions of their own death. The mystery gets somewhat clearer when the group finds information about the former owner of the house: a famous magician killed in an on-stage accident after being betrayed by his wife and her lover. This revelation forces the group to realize that their predicament isn’t just someone’s idea of a prank – their lives are in danger.
DEATH’S DOOR melds the horror genres of slasher films and gothic haunted house movies. The end result is a group of extremely exasperating teens trapped in a nightmarish building reminiscent of Euro-horrors like Argento’s INFERNO or SUSPIRIA. There is, however, a more apt Euro-horror comparison for the film: the works of Jess Franco. DEATH’S DOOR operates with the same oneiric illogic of a Franco film. Flashbacks and dream-sequences are seamlessly incorporated into the temporal narrative, blurring the lines between past, present, and future for the viewer. Though disorienting at times, Goldsby manages to pull off the technique well, albeit in a less atmospheric manner than maestro Franco. DEATH’S DOOR suffers somewhat from a lack of focus overall. Interesting things occur but are presented in a manner that makes it unclear what they are leading toward, thereby reducing their impact. Some members of the ensemble cast are more accomplished than their peers, but the absence of a true focal point may disappoint some viewers.
The aforementioned featurette on DEATH’S DOOR’s haunted set is accompanied by a music video – “Shorty Wassup.” MVD Visual’s print of the film is solid, ably showing off what are impressive special effects for a lower budget horror film. The at-times confusing nature of DEATH’S DOOR prevents it from every being truly frightening but does lead to it often being intriguing. Fans of the aforementioned Jess Franco will probably find the most to enjoy here and those of you preferring a more visceral horror would be better served elsewhere.
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