Horror movies seem to be obsessed with ‘being special.’ These things only happen to ‘special’ people…If this is the pay off to special, I think I’m going to embrace the average.
Or maybe not-because I honestly have to wonder in my dark little soul if the real message to movies that include phrases like ‘he picked you because you’re special’ in the first five minutes of the film is that if you were special, you wouldn’t have to go chasing after sensation in terrible places. People who know they’re special don’t need to go chasing after validation.
At the Devil’s Door is one of those films that illustrates a point about horror while being sort of wooden and forced in their own right. In the vein of the Omen, but at the same time coming nowhere near those heights of possession and demonic horror, this is what happens when people who think movies need to be populated by pretty people and hipsters (yes, the terrible things happen to pretty people thing still annoys the hell out of me, no pun intended) and not really pushing an established trope into new directions. It’s sort of an example of the current themes running through the genre, but not really touching on any of them deep enough to add to the dialogue; family, change, validation, control issues, invasion…but while avoiding going deep enough into any of them to actually say something. There are certainly films that do fully examine these themes-this just isn’t one of them.
To give the movie some credit, I did like the introduction of some of the folk magic/folkloric demonic lore into a sub genre heavily tilted towards Catholicism. I did like the usage of the crossroads. I like when film makers, even when they do it in passing, accidentally, or as a hand wave, force the viewer to remember that there are whole piles of entities and beliefs that have nothing to do with the ‘demons’ that shows like Ghost Adventures are obsessed with screaming out all the time. On the other hand, these throw away details-like the covered mirrors and the cross roads- make me feel like with slightly more thought, this film could have been so much more than what it is currently.