Cinema Review: At The Devil's Door | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Monday, February 24th, 2020  

At The Devil’s Door

Studio: IFC Midnight
Directed by Nicholas McCarthy

Sep 10, 2014 Web Exclusive
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Before you make a deal with the devil, always, always, always read the fine print. In At The Devil’s Door, teenage Hanna (Ashley Rickards) sells her soul to Ol’ Scratch for a cool $500 and, of course, comes to regret that decision. Fast forward a few years and Leigh, an enthusiastic real estate agent, is tasked with selling the suburban home we watched the poor young girl be haunted in just a few scenes earlier. There are unusual burn marks covering the walls in one of the bedrooms, a creepy, covered mirror, and a young, disturbed-looking teenage girl who seems to only lurk about the house at night.

At The Devil’s Door is (thankfully) far less predictable than its setup makes it feel. In many regards that’s a good thing: haunted houses and devilish deals are done to death, but Devil’s Door, to its credit, tries a few things new and takes a handful of unexpected twists. Some surprises, though, crop up as the result of what we’d guess was poor planning. There are probably one too many protagonists; the first half jumps between Hanna and Leigh, before suddenly settling on Leigh’s sister, Vera (Glee’s Naya Rivera), for the rest of the movie. This second half feels almost like the beginning of an entirely new film, and you have to wonder whether the first two characters we invested so much of the movie’s 91-minute runtime in could have been better compressed into a fast-moving first act. Still, the awkard, herky-jerky pacing and askew plotting aside, many of the film’s scenes are effectively frightening; writer-director Nicholas McCarthy makes sure you don’t see its scares coming, which raises At The Devil’s Door above many horror films of its ilk.

Author rating: 4.5/10

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