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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

14 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!

  3. Hi, how are you? I was just in search of horror movies to look in honor of Halloween hahaha. Generally, I am not one of the people who watch horror movies because I am very scary. But time warrants it. I’ll look for this movie on Amazon Prime or Netflix to see if I can find it. Do you have any other suggestions for me?.

    Regards, Pao.

    • Hi Paola!

      The New Unfriended movie is pretty good, along with another movie called Searching (you’ll find both of the movies reviewed here if you’re looking for more info on them!)  🙂

  4. Nice one Chris – yet another interesting title for me to get my teeth into! 

    Your site is an absolute Found Footage heaven for us fans, whenever I run out I find something new here. You’re the best on the web mate!

    This is on the list for this weekend  🙂

    • Well you really are too kind Daniel (no seriously – keep the compliments coming!).

  5. I am a huge movie buff but I never seen this one the name does sound familiar though. I am not a huge fan of the found footage but I usually don’t knock a movie until I have seen it you know? I remember when the Blair Witch movies came out in the 90’s I was a kid then I thought it was creepy now not so much.

    This movie does sound pretty interesting so I will have to go look it up sometime soon and when I do I will let you know my take on the movie. Thanks for the review 

    Matt

    • Okay Matt – Hope you enjoy it! 

      But…if you don’t like Found Footage movies…how did you manage to stumble across this site?

  6. I love scary and stuff about priests, exorcisms and so forth so you can guarantee I’m going looking for this one.  Thank you for taking the time to do the review.

    It’s also nice to find a Found Footage film that steps off the path for once – this looks like it’s a change from the norm as far as forests and asylums go! 

    • Yep, a pretty cool movie this one Dale – came from nowhere and has had a good reception off critics! 

  7. Good afternoon Chris,

    I must admit I have not seen the film yet but reading your review I think I should.

    I suppose the photo of the Madonna statue crying blood tears is the miracle the priests are going to investigate? World wide there have been statues and not only Christian statues which have shown unusual features like blood tears, or milk like tears, even real tears. These happenings cannot be explained by our “normal” logic.

    One feature you liked about this film was that the costumes were well made. This is so important as it makes a film real. The right scenery and also with what light effects the film was made, all this plays an important role.

    A film has to be so well made that you feel you are inside it and participating not only an observer. I hope it is not going to be too scary otherwise I cannot sleep.

    Regards, Taetske  

    • Hi there Taetske – great to meet you!

      You sound like you know your onions when it comes to movies you like – I hope you enjoy this one (and manage to get some sleep!). 

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