Nicholas McCarthy's At The Devil's Door begins with a young teenage runaway who is led to a small mobile home in the desert by her boyfriend. Desperate for money, she agrees to a sinister occult game with a few hundred dollars cash as her reward. Flash-forward several years where we are introduced to Leigh, a young but ambitious real estate agent, who has just agreed to help sell a home with a seemingly checkered past. Unbeknownst to Leigh, the home is entangled in a supernatural force which pulls not only Leigh but her sister Vera into its sinister web. If there is one thing apparent about Nicholas McCarthy as a filmmaker it is his knack for creating atmospheric horror films. McCarthy is a filmmaker that realizes good horror has little to do with violence on screen or blood and guts, opting instead for impressive visual storytelling that creates ominous tension. The characters are well-defined and three-dimensional, especially for the genre, but McCarthy seems to get a little too wrapped up in creating mystery in his narrative, which at times slows down the fantastic amount of tension he creates with ease. One thing I do appreciate about this approach is how McCarthy routinely plays with his audiences narrative perceptions, making his characters almost disposable in an effort to cloud the audience as to who is really the main character of the film. At The Devil's Door is another example of why Nicholas McCarthy is one of the most promising horror directors in recent memory, but I wish his films could be a little more stripped down and straight-forward in approach.
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