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Overall Rating
3.38

Awesome: 3.45%
Worth A Look55.17%
Average: 17.24%
Pretty Bad: 24.14%
Total Crap: 0%

3 reviews, 11 user ratings


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Right at Your Door
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by Jay Seaver

"Panic house."
4 stars

SCREENED AT THE 2007 FANTASIA FESTIVAL: No-one uses the word "terrorism" in "Right at Your Door", but that's not because it's irrelevant to the movie. It's all about terror, and the fear that comes from not knowing what just happened, what's going to happen, and what to do next. What it isn't about is terrorists - there's plenty of action movies for that.

Brad (Rory Cochrane) and Lexi (Mary McCormack) have just moved into a new place in L.A., and this morning she's off to her job while he waits for the cable guy and makes some calls to try to help his music career. A fairly ordinary day, until a series of explosions rocks the city. Brad tries to get through to Lexi, but all the circuits are jammed, and police are setting up roadblocks. It gets worse: These were not just explosives, but some sort of chemical/biological/"dirty" bombs, and the authorities are advising citizens to seal themselves in their homes. Brad wants to wait for Lexi, but his neighbor's handyman Alvaro (Tony Perez) shows up needing shelter...

Early parts of the movie move in something close to real time, with what at least feels like unbroken shots of Brad and Alvaro trying to do whatever they can to deal with the situation actively. Whether it be Brad's early attempts to get into the city or the near-panicked attempts to get the house sealed off, there's not a lot of talking, and filmmaker Chris Gorak avoids anything that pulls us away from the immediacy of the situation. Some time must pass between Alvaro's arrival and when they start sealing the house, and by a similar token we don't see them sealing every single window, but it never feels like a montage or as if they've had time to stop and think.

Part of this is because Gorak and company do a fine job presenting us with background details that reinforce the characters' panic. Because the cable guy hasn't come yet, Brad and Alvaro are getting their information via radio, which is much better for this movie than television because it lets us focus on watching the actors rather than what's on the TV (and we've seen enough "clever" bits on how CNN would create a brand name, theme song and graphics for a given crisis in other movies to last a lifetime). It gives us other little stories going on in the background without having to go to other locations, and lets us feel like we can see what's going on without having to spend a lot of money on effects. The CGI and practical effects the film uses are quite effective, and also not flashy enough to pull us away from what the actors are doing.

The acting is one of the film's strengths. Rory Cochrane, in particular, is never less than dead-on, from his initial panic to how he makes it look as though a little part of Brad's soul is dying by not doing more to help Lexi. Tony Perez internalizes Alvaro's fear a little more - for him, things are urgent, but he's well aware that all he can do is bunker down and try to ride it out. Mary McCormack, as you might expect from her name at the top of the credits, doesn't vanish completely after the film's first five minutes, and does a pretty impressive job of showing us her character's outrage out feeling like she's been written off, being angry at Brad for taking steps to possibly survive without her, and not quite feeling shame for that.

If the film has a fault, it's that Gorak seems to have a hard time finding a way to end the thing. At a certain point, I found myself thinking, okay, he's inside and she's outside, they're scared and angry and kind of being jerked around by authorities who aren't ready for this sort of crisis, but now it's time for something to happen. The thing is that when it does, it's going to feel like an awkward external push to get the thing ended because the film has done such a good job of making it about these few people. What he comes up with isn't bad, although it feels like a bit too much of a swerve.

It doesn't erase the previous hour and a half of good acting and excellent tension, not by a long shot. In a lot of ways, "Right at Your Door" is like the missing half of a lot of disaster films, showing what havoc the cool special effects wreak on the people caught in their wake.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=13557&reviewer=371
originally posted: 07/12/07 00:07:21
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 Sundance Film Festival For more in the 2006 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2007 Fantasia Film Festiva For more in the 2007 Fantasia Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

6/27/10 PAUL SHORTT CAPTIVATING LOW-BUDGET DISASTER FILM 3 stars
4/02/10 brian Interesting premise, some good moments, but ultimately unconvincing. 3 stars
2/08/09 Juliet Tense movie, great ending 4 stars
1/16/09 Shaun Wallner Kept me on the edge of the seat! 4 stars
3/12/08 Elizabeth Gripping, thought provoking. 4 stars
5/06/07 steve newman Watched Sky UK - thought might have seen more re the "dirty bombs" - great twist at end 3 stars
9/23/06 janet very moralistic - too long -she was good 3 stars
9/18/06 MP Bartley Very gripping. Threads meets Blair Witch meets 24. 4 stars
9/10/06 Pam This film was tedious. 2 stars
2/14/06 Dyon Wonderful movie Awesome cast 5 stars
1/28/06 xtc tense, flawed, and worthy 3 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  24-Aug-2007
  DVD: 29-Jan-2008

UK
  08-Sep-2006

Australia
  N/A


Directed by
  Chris Gorak

Written by
  Chris Gorak

Cast
  Mary McCormack
  Rory Cochrane
  Tony Perez
  Scotty Noyd Jr.
  Max Kasch
  Jon Huertas



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