NEVER OPEN THE DOOR is one of those horror films that puts me in a difficult position. On one hand, it is full of heart and great intentions; as an amateur filmmaker myself, I respect the hard work and dedication that was put into making this movie. But on the other hand, the execution of the film leaves a lot to be desired…so much so that the resulting movie is almost downright unwatchable. In the end, as much as it pains me to say, I have to advise steering clear of this one.
If you are not familiar with NEVER OPEN THE DOOR, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Maltauro Entertainment:
Three happy couples enjoy Thanksgiving in a cozy secluded cabin in the woods when they are suddenly interrupted by an unprecedented event that will forever change their lives. A stranger comes at the door, he is severely wounded and when they let him in, he throws up blood into Tess’s mouth, he then collapses on the floor and while specifically pointing at one of the friends, screams his last words before he dies: Never Open the Door. The group of friends, dumbfounded, start to panic. Tess inexplicably disappears. A killer is on the loose.
Despite this film’s negatives, I do have to give director Vito Trabucco credit: this is a fairly ambitious undertaking. If the issues I’m about to mention were addressed and the film remade, this could be a heck of horror flick.
The acting in NEVER OPEN THE DOOR is a serious concern. Granted, this is a lower budget film, therefore we cannot expect Academy Award caliber talent. However, the filmmakers did not do their cast any favors by having them improvise huge sections of the film. I felt the awkwardness of this from the start, when the couples are dining early on in the film. The “conversation” is clunky and doesn’t make much sense. This theme continues throughout, even as the tension flares up. Also, there’s nothing more annoying than hearing the cast repeat “We gotta get out of here!” thirty plus times after the dead guy arrives; I felt like I was listening to a group of parrots who got stuck in a loop.
The story is the biggest negative here. It starts off strong, and then has the potential to be an exciting mind-bender…but then it falls flat on its face. Why? First and foremost, because it makes no sense. We are never given an explanation as to who the strange guys are outside the house. Nor are we ever told what the changeling “thing” is inside or why certain characters start killing the others. Leaving minor aspects unexplained in a movie is usually ok, but you absolutely cannot leave the main antagonizing factors hanging by any means. Doing so only creates frustration for the viewer, and therefore a miserable viewing experience.
These unanswered questions therefore ruin the big twist at the end, which would actually be very cool, were it done correctly. This is a case where more time should have been spent on the script prior to shooting.
I really wanted to like NEVER OPEN THE DOOR, but there’s too many things wrong with it. The basic premise is intriguing, and the cover art on the Blu-ray screams “Watch this movie!”…but this production needs to revisit the proverbial drawing board before it moves forward. The film is available now, however, if you decide to give it a look.