Creepy Meandering Awaits ‘At the Devil’s Door’

by Brian Reeves on September 26, 2014

in Print Reviews,Reviews

[Minor Rock Fist Down]

Can a horror movie that’s all atmosphere and zero coherent plot really satisfy? That’s the question I was left with once the credits started rolling on At the Devil’s Door. Writer/Director Nicholas McCarthy‘s take on the classic horror trope of selling one’s soul to the Devil oozes with dread and menace that will keep you in a state of discomfort for its 91 minute running time, but all of that build-up ultimately doesn’t lead anywhere of note.

A real estate agent takes on the task of selling a house with some mysterious circumstances surrounding it. This leads her to a run in with a troubled teen who keeps showing up at the seemingly empty house. Her attempts to help the girl lead her, and her sister, down a path to a head on confrontation with the big bad red guy himself.

Plenty of twists and turns and some time jumping editing keep you from ever feeling truly comfortable with what’s unfolding in front of you. Some nice camera work that goes from a little shaky at times and utterly still during sections, as well as a nice musical score, also add to the unsettling feeling. Forgoing gore and jump scares, this movie is just really damn creepy, a rare find these days. You know, just know, something really bad is going to happen right around the corner, you’re just not sure what.

Nine times out of ten finding a horror movie that keeps you guessing as to what is going to happen next is a welcome treat. The problem with At the Devil’s Door is the reason you can’t see what’s coming has nothing to do with creating new ideas or keeping its secrets hidden until just the right moment. The problem here is that it just doesn’t make any damn sense. A lot of half cooked ideas from films like Rosemary’s Baby, Amityville Horror, and every demonic possession film ever made, have been thrown into a blender and poured out like some sort of horror movie milkshake. What ends up happening is like having a jigsaw puzzle where each individual piece looks fine on its own, but none of them fit together into any kind of bigger picture.

What you are left with is a creepy, dread filled experience with no real payoff. It was disappointing to have such a promising movie go so far of the rails as it progressed. I give At the Devil’s Door a B+ for its atmosphere and all around creepy feeling, but an F for its story. Add it all up and you get a Minor Rock Fist Down. I hear you knocking Devil, but no one is home to let you in.

Brian loves horror movies, old-school heavy metal, and beer — not necessarily in that order. He also digs all the Nightmare on Elm Street movies and is willing to fight people who actually think the Paranormal Activity series is scary because it’s not.

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