Tonight we will be venturing into Maltauro Entertainment’s NEVER OPEN THE DOOR written and directed by Christopher Maltauro and Vito Trabucco. Going into this film knowing it was a nod to shows like “The Twilight Zone” and “Outer Limits” I was feeling very excited. With shows like “Black Mirror” on the rise it was nice to see this level of creativity placed into a film that was fun and easy to watch.
NEVER OPEN THE DOOR surrounds three happy couples enjoying the holidays in a cozy secluded cabin in the woods when they are suddenly interrupted by an unprecedented event that will forever change their lives. This movie opens up with a very thrilling intro soundtrack that leads into our characters Luke (Mike Wood), Maria (Deborah Venegas), Terrence (George Troester), Tess (Jessica Sonneborn), Isaac (Matt Aidan) and Angel (Kristina Page) enjoying a holiday dinner together. They all appear to be long time friends that have seldom time to visit each other. However, things become interrupted when they hear an abrupt knock at the door.
This film really does not hesitate to jump into the action as it is only about 64 minutes long. *MILD SPOILER* It isn’t hard to assume that the characters open the door which results in a situation that is very confusing and unsettling. Strange occurrences begin to happen with their cell phones which starts to lead into the chaos that will soon unfold. I found this scenario to be one that was rather entertaining and creative.
Each character brought their own little something to the table in terms of their acting. At first I felt as if the actors may have been “over acting” but it honestly felt so natural to watch. It was as if they were acting accordingly. What I mean is it seemed as if someone had recorded friends having a dinner together in real life. Luke appears to be the alpha and a character that is really dismissive and proud which was an odd contrast to his wife Maria, who was very emotional and incredibly passive. Terrence was the one individual that did shed a bit of comedic light on everyone with his sort of jock like cocky qualities. One thing I didn’t understand was a conversation they were all having about the character Tess being a veterinarian. They were teasing her about it and acting as if that wasn’t a “real job”. I thought to myself as I watched this “Who does that!?” Angel and Isaac seemed to be the most level headed out of the bunch and therefore were probably my two favorite characters.
I ended up watching this film with headphones in, which was a great idea but also a mistake, as I was completely startled by the initial knock at the door. There is a lot of build up within the soundtrack that creates some fairly thick tension during some of the scenes. Whenever each character began to encounter what I will refer to as “IT”, the characters became shrouded in an array of really twisted visions that were incredibly eerie yet satisfying. One thing I found to be unexplained was the men Angel and Maria saw staring at them from outside of a bedroom window. I didn’t really see how it tied into the rest of the plot but it was effectively creepy in its own way.
As aforementioned, a lot of the humor was tied around the character Terrence as he seemed to be the “class clown” so to speak. I also found humor in the light-hearted campiness of the entire film which I did honestly enjoy. There was one thing that I found incredibly unsettling as I watched the situation unfold before my eyes, and that was a stabbing that occurs during a confrontation. The camera looks away only for brief moments as you see the blade penetrate flesh with some really cool and realistic sounds. The effects appeared to be all practical which as I usually mention is my preferred method of blood and gore. Although the blood and gore was mild, I enjoyed it in this movie. There was also a small glimpse of a really disturbing voice effect on “IT” which sent chills down my spine that I did not expect.
Another thing I found to be a very nice tough was the house in which the film takes place. To my understanding it was a relatively new home purchased by Luke and Maria. It was incredibly empty and gave this feeling of hollowness. It seemed all too appropriate for a moving paying homage to “The Twilight Zone.” Wrapping up this review I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed NEVER OPEN THE DOOR. It was eerie, funny, gross and everything I would look for in a horror film. However, in my opinion this was not a horror film. There was horrific imagery and a sense of dread throughout the film but it did lean a bit more towards sci-fi than horror, especially the ending. I cannot explain how pleased I was with the ending. I found it to be very creative and I honestly had no idea where this movie was taking me.
As I mentioned before NEVER OPEN THE DOOR payed excellent homage to the aforementioned television shows. If you’re a fan of the supernatural, science fiction or horror genre I would highly, highly recommend giving this movie a chance. You could even add it to a Holiday Watch list.