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The Devil’s Doorway (2018) – Movie Review

The Devil's Doorway (2018) - Movie Review

Little bit of a surprise this one – kinda came from nowhere really, but it’s certainly worth a look (if you manage to find it online!).

I found it on a (slightly dubious) streaming site but the IMDb page does indicate that it’s available ‘On Demand’ – no idea what that means but I’m guessing a paid service like Amazon Prime or Netflix?

Anyway, it’s a Found Footage offering from the horror-based film provider IFC Midnight, and is directed by Aislinn Clarke (The Lighthouse Keepers 2012, Childer 2016) and written by Martin Brennan (who apparently used to write the storyline’s for next-gen video games!).

I know what you’re thinking – ‘Fuck no, another recycled, cardboard, demonic Found Footage offering!’

But stick with me – this Irish indie horror really does provide a punch at times, and I quite enjoyed it.

The Plot

In the fall of 1960, Father Thomas Riley and Father John Thornton were sent by the Vatican to investigate a miraculous event in an Irish home for ‘fallen women’, only to uncover something much more horrific.

Conclusion

Okay, straight onto the conclusion with this one – because I want to cover the more impressive elements before I forget what I’m going to write (yes, that does happen from time to time!).

The first point I want to cover is the film’s excellent use of period. More often than not, Found Footage movies attempt to provide a era-related storyline…only to fail miserably.

Not the case here.

First of all we have the grainy, cropped Footage that is shot through a 60’s camera. It offers a chopped cinematography – including rounded edges on each frame. Not sure what camera model this is (because I’m nowhere near that old!), but I’m sure someone will enlighten us in the comment section below.

I was also impressed by the costume side of the setup – everyone, especially the nuns, LOOK like they belong there for once (as opposed to the filmmakers going out and buying a few Halloween nun/priest outfits from the local fancy dress store!).

I’m reliably informed that a lady named Susan Scott handled the costume and makeup section of the film – the girl did good!

I really liked the two main characters in the movie – and this sort of thing doesn’t happen too frequently in the Found Footage genre!

More often than not, I’m harboring a grudge against the American twenty-something leads that litter this horror route, after only watching them for ten minutes or so.

But The Devil’s Doorway gives us two rather interesting priest characters in the form of Father Thomas Riley (Lalor Roddy) and Father John Thornton (Ciaran Flynn). The older Father Thomas is rather skeptic while the younger Father John hopes to confirm the miracle they have been sent to ‘investigate’.

The Irish kinda do this sort of thing really well – it’s a religiously divided country (more often than not) and they have more than enough ‘experience’ in the Catholic side of things, to pull this movie subject off!

Now, it’s NOT a movie without faults – remember that this is a pretty low budget offering, but it doesn’t really appear that way on the big screen.

First off the bat is the soundtrack – most of you will know that this is a pet peeve of mine in Found Footage movies.

To be fair – the soundtrack actually fits the movie quite well, but it shouldn’t really be there in the first place!

But, I can easily live with the slight ‘cons’ I experienced in The Devil’s Doorway because they don’t take too much away from the movie’s effectiveness.

If I was you – I’d keep an eye on this Aislinn Clarke character, she (I think she’s female!) seems to know what works well in this genre.

I enjoyed it.

Chris

4 Comments

  1. Hi Again Chris,
    Just watched this last night and thought it was very creepy and scary! I definitely jumped quite a few times. Regarding the soundtrack, I actually thought of this more as a conventional indie film that happened to be shot through the priest’s camera. As evidence, consider that it does include conventional opening and closing credit sequences whereas most (if not all) traditional Found Footage films have cold opens or the typical notes about how the police “found” the footage. I do agree with you that traditional FF films should never have a soundtrack as its inclusion virtually destroys any notion that what you are seeing is “real.”

    • Yeah that’s a good point about the opening notes Dave! I actually sat through this one again last night and enjoyed it a little more (noticed a few other things in it I’d missed the first time around). All in all – a decent and original title.

  2. Chris:
    I was so happy to see this film screening at my local theater. I live outside of Boston, Mass., USA I saw it on-line and really liked it. Great story and the casting was brilliant.

    • Yeah this had something about it didn’t it Celine – makes a lovely change to put something up on here that is worthwhile watching!

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