The Open Door Movie Review
Written by Gabino Iglesias
DVD released by Phase 4 Films
Written and directed by Doc Duhame
2008, 94 minutes, Not Rated
DVD released on November 15th, 2011
Catherine Georges as Angelica
Sarah Christine Smith as Staci
Mike Dunay as Brad
Ryan Doom as Owen
Daniel Booko as Spike
The Open Door, a 2008 movie from writer and director Doc Duhame, is one of those movies that starts with a unique twist and then becomes bogged down by a weak script, low production values and a very low budget.
The movie tells the story of Angelica, a typical high school girl who has a double-faced friend at school and very stern parents at home. When we first see Angelica, she's flirting with Brad as her friend Staci sits on a different table at school and hangs with the rest of the gang: a troupe of archetypical high school football jocks. There's a big party that night and Angelica is looking forward to spending some time with Brad, but her parents won't let her go because she's still grounded from the last time she didn't make it home by curfew. When her parents leave for the night, Angelica is left at home, bored and depressed. Listening to the radio, Angelica stumbles upon a program called "The Open Door." People have been talking about the program at school and calling it an urban legend: if you call, bad things happen. When Angelica finds it on 99.9 FM, a deep voice tells her things that fit in perfectly with the way she's feeling.
"The Open Door" is being transmitted from a mysterious van in the outskirts of town and soon The Oracle, a smoky-voiced female with a slight British accent, starts telling people to take control of their lives. When Staci sets up a kiss between Brad and another girl and send Angelica the pictures, she calls the program and is told to wish for things out loud. After her crying, screaming catharsis, which is full of truly original material like "I wish my parents would leave me alone and stop interfering in my life," The Oracle tells her it's a deal. When her friends decide to leave the party and go scare Angelica, they end up finding out just how dangerous her deal truly is.
The movie takes about 40 minutes to truly get into the action and the buildup is full of formulaic elements that can be found in most teenage romantic comedies. From the strict parents not letting Angelica got to the party and the conniving friend to the jock shenanigans and underlying love stories, the movie feels as if a script for a romantic comedy was somehow forced to become a horror film. Also, after the first few scares at the 40-minute mark, the narrative once again dips into love-story-and-manipulative-friend mode for an additional 20 minutes. In the end, all the killing is done within the last 18 minutes of the movie and the lack of budget becomes obvious: a few pints of fake blood and a pair of contact lenses that are used to signify that the entity has invaded someone are it when it comes to special effects.
There's nothing horribly wrong with the acting, but the characters are so one-dimensional that there was very little the actors could do with them. As for Angelica, Catherine Georges would rank right around the middle of the very long list of horror movie scream queens. Similarly, the directing leaves a lot to be desired. While camera work is standard for the genre and there are no blaring mistakes like a microphone in the shot, there are a few continuity issues like a disappearing/reappearing brassiere that keep the film from getting a better grade.
One thing that was above average for a low budget film was the sound. The music was good and the voices are clear throughout the movie. The fact that the action is anchored on a radio shows means that there's a lot of voiceovers. While these are technically solid, the writing once again becomes the problem and, in the case of The Oracle, one gets the feeling that the same woman has a second job at a phone sex operator.
While the premise is original, The Open Door is full of stock characters, with forces the acting to remain mediocre, and the story lacks depth and fails to deliver any sort of jolt or even high-tension moments. Look for thrills and chills somewhere else.
Video, Audio and Special Features:
Video, audio and special features will not be graded as this was a screener.