Stars: Catalina Sandino Moreno, Naya Rivera, Ashley Ricklands, Ava Acres, Wyatt Russell | Written and Directed by Nicolas McCarthy
At The Devil’s Door tells the story of Leigh, an estate agent, who goes to asses a new property in the highly sought after Greenville area for her portfolio. Little does she know the appalling impact it will have on her entire existence. For the house was once connected to a series of mysterious incidents in 1987 involving teenage runaway Hannah White. But it’s not just Leigh who is affected by the fall-out from a past macabre deal. Her successful artist sister Vera gets unwittingly sucked into the tsunami of shocking happenings attached to the previous tenant who unwittingly welcomed the devil into her life. The problem is, Satan is still looking for a new home…
The concept of At The Devil’s Door itself is nothing new, the films story is similar to of a number of different movies, in fact it could be described in one sentence: “It’s a bad Omen that Rosemary, our Amityville estate agent is having a Baby.” But despite the derivative story writer/director Nicolas McCarthy has managed to craft a film that actually does what a lot of other genre movies this year haven’t. And that’s actually be scary. So scary that I jumped in my seat on the odd occasion, praise indeed from someone that, I like to think, is hardened to the foibles of the genre.
Whilst At The Devil’s Door may feel derivative of a number of more successful horror movies (the idea of someone selling their soul to the devil has to be one of the oldest stories in horror), there is, at its core, some truly interesting ideas surrounding the family unit, what makes a home and reflections on life choices; and I don’t use the term “reflections” lightly. One of the films greatest successes is director Nicolas McCarthy’s use of reflection, he builds a lot of this films tension by showing the devil in mirrors and reflective surfaces so that we, the audience, know he’s there when the films characters don’t – which leads to truly some nail-biting, edge of your seat, scenes.
McCarthy’s fantastic direction is matched only by the stunning sound design. The film is filled with deep, foreboding sounds which only add to the sense of dread and fear running throughout the film – often reflecting the growing presence of the devil… increasing in volume and and frequency as he nears his ultimate goal.
Essentially an anthology tale, telling the story of three women who face down the devil (Catalina Sandino Moreno, Naya Rivera, Ashley Ricklands), At The Devil’s Door is an effective tale of demonic possession that is filled with pleasant (and not so pleasant) surprises. Definitely a highlight on this years horror calendar so far.