At the Devil's Door (2014)

Horror
Catalina Sandino Moreno, Naya Rivera, Ashley Rickards, Mark Steger
When ambitious young real estate agent Leigh is asked to sell a house with a checkered past, she crosses paths with a disturbed girl whom she learns is the runaway daughter of the couple ...
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  • 08 Aug 2014 Released:
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The most not watch of the year1/10
This movie needs a coupon where I can reclaim that hour and a half of my life back.. The storyline is really flimsy, and so is the acting. There was no connection at all with the characters, and the dialogs hardly added anything to change that fact. There is a way too long build up to the tension, and when something does happen, it's disappointing. The ending did nothing to change the vagueness of the overall movie. The best acting came from the red trench coat. The boots were a close second. Even I, who has watched many of bad horror movies in my day, felt the need to warn people to stay clear of this one. Simply one of the most boring horrors I've seen in a while.
"You're not the One I Want"6/10
At The Devil's Door is a mixed bag of horror elements, there are some great scares and a strong atmosphere, but then there are parts of the story that just seem irrelevant. As for the better aspects of the movie, the opening scene is phenomenal, it does what every movie should do, it hooks the viewer in a matter of minutes. After those great opening minutes, the atmosphere in the movie is nice and thick, and it lasts for just about the entire movie. But the atmosphere can't save the movie from a very odd and spotty narrative timeline that jumps all over the place between past and present for no apparent reason. The movie is the tale of three characters and the middle character is just filler to get from the first girl to the last girl. The second act is where the story starts to get muddy and the excitement level drops significantly, and the questions start to rise.

And as for the end (which most people have a problem with), I have to agree, very anticlimactic and disappointing. Like I said above, the final minutes of the movie just ruins the ride, just a lack of logic on the characters decision is just disappointing. At The Devil's Door was the type of movie I really wanted to like more than I did, but looking back, there are just too many empty scenes that don't add up. The whole movie jumps through time like crazy, from the past to the present, then like 7 years into the future, which definitely makes you wonder why a character waited that long to do so? And if you can't get past the middle girl in the film and turn the movie off, you're not really missing much of a conclusion, let alone anything you haven't seen before in the horror genre.

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Film with great promise switches too many gears4/10
'At the Devil's Door' opens with an intriguing series of events reminiscent for this viewer of Clive Barker's 'Lord of Illusion'. In fact, as act one got underway, I was in the process of making a case for a potentially new favorite horror movie. The film begins with a girl of perhaps seventeen years of age (credited only as 'the girl') led to a small mobile home in the desert by her shifty looking boyfriend, to play some kind of occult game for a few hundred dollars cash. I found both the premise and execution to be effective from a horror movie creep factor perspective, and was anxious to see more.

The film continued to interest with the young female protagonist jamming out to decidedly eighties flavored music, which mistakenly led me to anticipate some sort of retro theme similar to that found in some of Ty West's work.

Unfortunately, act 2 quickly shifts the focus off the young girl and her deepening involvement with the occult to a pair of female characters whose lives are far removed from the original heroine's atmospheric descent into the unknown.

For a time after this shift in viewpoint the story follows Leigh (Catalina Sandino Moreno), who is a lonely immigrant real estate agent destined to stumble upon the events of early act 1 by easily inferred means.

Frankly, I was deeply into following the story of the teen girl(Ashley Rickards) and her terrifying journey, so much so that when the perspective shifts and we are introduce to the people in Leigh's life, I thought I was suddenly watching a different movie.

Throughout Leigh's section of the film the story does at times flashback to the teen girl's plot line, but by then most all the original atmosphere is dispersed.

I did not find Leigh's segment to be entertaining really, nor could I identify with her or her character's plight. What compounded this further for me was a third perspective shift in late act 2 to Leigh's sister, Vera (Naya Rivera) who actually becomes the film's main character from that point on. If Leigh was a difficult character for me to get into, Vera's is even more so and I cannot imagine why the writer/director chose to squander what atmosphere he had crafted early on in exchange for the confusing and disappointing perspective shifts of later acts.

Essentially, the story boils down to a supernatural birth and leads the viewer onto the much worn path of evil children and the parent who sets out to stop them at all costs, only to throw in a last minute, unsatisfying twist at the end.

For my tastes the plot of 'At the Devil's Door' wandered too much, became too many different stories too suddenly, and never really committed to one identity. And that's a shame as the film opened with some really great horror potential that demanded focus on one character's perspective and continual thickening of atmosphere. Even the tension the film does build just happens in too many places to ever rise to the level of terror.

A recommendation to horror fans, in my opinion, would lead only to their disappointment.
Bits of nonsense does not a Horror make!2/10
A fragmented bundle of story pieces, At the Devil's Door doesn't add up as the sum of its parts.

The film effectively opens with a runaway teenage girl in the arms of a teenage boy in what looks to be a mobile home in the desert. He takes her to play a shell game unlike she's ever played and wins $500. While at her home later she is viciously attacked by an unknown force. Fast forward to Leigh, a hardworking real estate agent trying to sell the very house the girl in the last scene was attacked. While surveying the house she comes across the girl, who we believe is the daughter of the couple selling the house, and becomes the target of the ominous supernatural force; unknowingly bringing her sister Vera into its sights as well.

That convoluted summary and plot description is due to the plot being a loosely jumbled mess. To call At The Devil's Door a narrative would be an offense to all other narratives because it is so discordant from a typical plot. Nicholas McCarthy desperately and ineffectually tries to splice the tale together loosely by connecting the satanic undertone throughout. For a film marketing itself as a 'horror' it shies away from the truly terrifying aspects of demonic rage as a satanic being clamors to take a human form and is underwhelmingly tame.

At The Devil's Door is unnecessarily overcomplicated and contrived in trying to be different from typical demonic possession films. Incoherent perplexing chunks of the film should have been amputated and reevaluated. Editors are resigned to fade to black scenes to attempt to piece together a film with no cohesive plot direction. The fragmented plot and poorly conceptualized screenplay by McCarthy is only highlighted further by the forced dialogue between the characters.

Further, there are three protagonists. There is a formula to horrors and supernatural thrillers, a very simple formula, you must have one clear protagonist for the audience to follow. Ashley Rickards is great as the disturbed teen assaulted in the first scene who menacingly skulks about, tormented by the decision she makes to allow this dark force to enter her life. The next protagonist Leigh, played by Catalina Sandino Moreno, unfortunately gets featured far too much and further splinters the story. The film could have contained a single scene with her as a minor character in order to connect Rickards' plot to Vera, the sister, played by Naya Rivera. If it were not for the sufficient performances of Rickards and Rivera this film would be unwatchable. Once Vera is the primary focus for the film it picks up slightly but pathetically shuffles its way to a weak finale.

At The Devil's Door is a bland and disjointed interpretation of the hellish thrillers of yesteryear when humanity was afraid of losing its soul to Satan. With no clear plot and no serious scares it expediently fast forwards through the various shorts attempting to be key plot events to an ending the audience can not care or be invested.
Really could've been better5/10
I sort of appreciate what this was trying to do, honestly. I just wish it had done it better. The film really isn't the typical mainstream slasher/horror flick, and it knows how to build atmosphere... to a point. It just slogs throughout most of its running time, and it really seems like it goes nowhere. The biggest crime a horror film could make is be boring, and at times, this is incredibly dull. I like the destination and I like how it doesn't feel the need to speed up its pace, but the really thin screenplay and some questionable acting make this not very good. It's a pity too, because it really does have some nice scenes and atmosphere.