“The Open Door completely defies its indie roots, and nothing about it says “indie” or “low-budget” in any way. Everything about the film seems so polished and so perfectly crafted that I’m half tempted to believe that this was a big-budget Hollywood flick trying to pass for an indie release.”
“The Open Door is a well-polished independent film with all of the claws and teeth that a full-blown Hollywood horror production carries.”
“The story is a well-crafted mix of Pump Up The Volume and Clive Barker’s Wishmaster.”
Nic Brown, Bmovieman.com
“…if you want great horror, you go indie. This film is one of the greats, and I highly recommend it.”
Duane L. Martin, Roguecinema.com
“The Open Door is a compellingly creepy film.”
Jordan Adams, Mymavra.com
“ This is a film all horror fans need to see.”
Richard Purcell, cyberphobias.com
“…pretty damn cool!”
“ …The Open Door is good horror, well done with good characters, terrifying moments and true fright”.
The Horror Czar, Best-Horror-Movies.com
Review (10/13/09) by Chad for Themoviesmademedoit.com
In the years that I've been running this site and receiving screeners courtesy of the filmmaker readers, I've come to notice that indie flicks tend to look alike in some regards. Whenever I pop one in, I expect to see rough video quality and subpar sound levels, but I tend to let these movies slide on those counts; after all, these are guys making movies on a budget, usually while trying to balance family and work lives at the same time. I also expect lackluster special effects and mediocre acting abilities, but again, I can overlook that unless it's particularly bad. Now, it may seem like I'm ragging on the indie guys too much, but I do love those movies: these guys aren't afraid to take chances and usually deliver some damned fine stories, but their lack of funds is obvious more times than not. I expected much the same from The Open Door, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that the film suffered from none of those flaws - in fact, it's one of the slickest indie flicks I've seen in quite some time, and I wouldn't have been shocked at all if I had seen it in a theater instead of on a screener disc.
The storyline for this one centers around Angelica (Catherine Georges), an awkwardly-naive high school girl with a crush on school hottie Brad (Mike Dunay). With the help of her snobbish "best friend" Staci (Sarah Christine Smith), she hopes to turn that crush into something a little more involved, if you catch my drift. Unfortunately, her parents stand in her way at every turn. You see, there's a huge party coming up and Brad is expecting her to go with him, but she's grounded courtesy of coming in late a few weeks ago. This is where we start to discover that Staci may not have the purest of intentions when it comes to Angelica, and to make a long story short, it's also the point where Angelica finds herself heartbroken.
With her parents out of town for the night and all of her friends over at that party, she decides to turn on the radio and work on her homework. She stumbles across a pirate radio station that is only on the air during the full moon, and this is where things get odd. You see, this station is run by someone who refers to herself as The Oracle, and she claims that she can help anyone who calls in with anything that they need. Angelica decides to give it a shot, and after getting herself all worked up on the line, she hysterically tells The Oracle that she wishes her parents would leave her alone, she wishes that those who wronged her were out of her life, and she wishes that Brad would love her until his dying day. The Oracle hears her out, and replies with a simple "It's done." From there, we discover that there is definitely something to that mysterious woman on the radio, and Angelica discovers that she probably should have thought twice about those wishes... or at least worded them a little better.
It's readily apparent that the basic storyline here borrows from The Monkey's Paw, but the surrounding storyline more than makes up for that. You see, the film is a bit predictable because we know what will happen after she makes those wishes, but we don't know how it's going to happen, we don't know anything about The Oracle, and most importantly, we are too busy simply enjoying the atmosphere of the film, an atmosphere that does nothing less than absolutely suck us in. You may know some of what's coming, but you'll have a hell of a time watching it unfold regardless.
I've said this about other indie films, but folks, this is the one that takes the proverbial cake: The Open Door completely defies its indie roots, and nothing about it says "indie" or "low-budget" in any way. Everything about the film seems so polished and so perfectly crafted that I'm half tempted to believe that this was a big-budget Hollywood flick trying to pass for an indie release. Seriously, one of the big studios could scoop this up and send it out to theaters, and it would not look out of place in the slightest. Everything from the lighting to the shots to the audio to the special effects are completely spot-on, and though the acting wavers from time to time, it never dips below "perfectly acceptable" throughout the running time.
This one comes with my highest recommendations. It takes an old idea and makes it seem fresh again, it's a damned enjoyable horror offering, and best of all, the general plot leaves plenty of room for a sequel down the road if the filmmakers choose to take that route. Personally, I hope they do. I can't quite say that it's a perfect film as I would have liked to have seen the teen angst toned down just a tiny bit, but that's a very minor problem with all things considered. 9.5/10.
Review (10/08/09) by Mediasaurus Rex for Mediasaurs.com
From the first scene THE OPEN DOOR comes out screaming. A zombie-eyed father has his weeping family hostage at gunpoint somewhere in suburban America. The setup leaves the viewer expecting a pedestrian cynical view of the modern American family. What is ultimately delivered is something superior. THE OPEN DOOR is a well-balanced horror movie that salutes horror films from PSYCHO to 70s drive-in fare like THE LOVE BUTCHER to the harder stuff like DEAD ALIVE. At its heart THE OPEN DOOR is a fascinating little story that will leave you wanting more.
THE OPEN DOOR is technically a movie about high school, teenage angst, and sexual tension. Angelica (Catherine Georges) has a crush on Brad (Mike Dunay) and wants to hookup (they don’t call it “going out” anymore). Unfortunately, she is on restriction for staying out past curfew with her snotty, backstabbing friend Staci (Sarah Christine Smith). Staci is out to thwart the Angelica/Brad hookup in order to give the brooding egomaniac Owen (Ryan Doom) a chance at Angelica. Staci plays headgames via cellphone with Angelica making her vulnerable to the forces of darkness. The high school social drama is what makes the horror in this film possible.
A nondescript white van with a serious antenna on the top broadcasts pirate radio from a different location every full-moon. The DJ, wearing a cowl, talks a smooth metaphysical rant to anyone tuning into 99.9 FM. He speaks of taking control of your life and making decisions for yourself. His message is tailor-made for Angelica who is listening in lieu of going to a party. In frustration with her situation Angelica calls the radio show, and her wishes are soon put into motion.
What follows is a series of truly creepy moments that lead to a full-on horror show. Something mean-spirited has been loosed that as the film progresses, becomes less of a trickster and more of a killer. Reminiscent of THE EVIL DEAD, it jumps from body to body. Those that it possesses have the zombie-eyed stare that we see in the first scene. THE OPEN DOOR is very successful in introducing the horror in that opening scene and then re-opening its elements later in the film when they have been all but forgotten.
The effects are fun and concise. There isn’t an abuse of CGI or splatter, although both are present. This is a film that maintains a normal pace and then kicks into overdrive with a vengeance. All of that high school drama? Solved. The violence that is unleashed is furious. When this film starts working out its chaotic conclusion, it is fun to keep up with who has been dispatched and who has been simply decommissioned for a spell.
The cast of THE OPEN DOOR really delivers. There is a lot of strength in Catherine Georges’ portrayal of Angelica. Her mousey, awkward high-school girl on the cusp of full-bloom is conveyed perfectly. Similarly, Daniel Booko as Spike is convincing as Owen’s punk-ass, brainless, thug-lieutenant. Even Doc Duhane, the director of the film is convincing as a man walking his dog while being mooned by Owen and his crew as they drive by.
THE OPEN DOOR is a well-polished independent film with all of the claws and teeth that a full-blown Hollywood horror production carries. THE OPEN DOOR delivers more goods than it initially seems to promise. When it ends and the credits roll, the viewer is left wanting more. Hopefully we will get more, because this movie is a franchise waiting to happen.
Review (09/26/09) by The Horror Czar for Best-Horror-Movies.com
The Open Door is a Warning to All Who Have Fleeting Evil Thoughts
In The Open Door a rage of teen anger manifests itself in demonic death, destruction and general mayhem
Angelica is having big troubles with her mother. Sure, she came home two hours late last weekend without calling, but what’s the big deal? Now Mom has grounded Angelica and she’s going to miss the biggest party of the year, not to mention the chance to meet up with her big crush, Brad. And it gets worse… “best friend forever”, the slutty Staci, is talking behind Angelica’s back and staging photos that show Brad in compromising positions and sending them to Angelica’s cell phone. Her life is ruined!
While sulking in her bedroom Angelica comes across a radio program, “The Open Door”. Broadcast only on the eve of a full moon, the program talks of cosmic forces that conspire to grant one’s deepest desires. All you have to do is ask. In a fit of emotion Angelica calls the program and rants her wishes – typical teenage things like “I wish my parents would leave me alone”, “I wish Brad and I could be together forever and that my name would be spoken with his dying breath”, and the ever-popular “I wish that I could get a real education in how the world works and stop being so sheltered”. Hmmm… nice wishes on their face, but what happens when the granting of these dreams comes very literally… and violently?
The Open Door is a low budget Indie horror thriller that exceeds expectations in just about every category. Production quality is strong, sound works well and the special effects are minimal and effective.The script and story of this film are actually very good, not requiring extreme leaps of faith or suspension of disbelief nearly as much as many horror films, even the Hollywood entries. The characters are well acted and well developed as well. Pretty rare these days. The radio broadcast is especially good with the perfect script and delivery to be believable as a program that could incite the downtrodden to self empowerment and passionate ranting – unknowing of the evil down-side of getting their heart’s desire at any cost.
The best thing about The Open Door is that it is actually scary. As the story progresses the hints of impending doom show themselves and then slowly come to fruition. Strange visions, scary dreams, heck even bumps in the night are all used very effectively to build toward a violent and terrifying climax… and even consequences. This film reminds me of the great 80s horror films that were the first to use the formulas we’ve all come to know and love. Back in those days, the formula was actually an original concept.
Overall The Open Door is good horror, well done with good characters, terrifying moments and true fright. Watch this one while alone at night with the lights out, during “horror movie night” with friends or even in the month preceding Halloween. It will certainly hold it’s own among the tried and true favorites.
Review (09/12/09) by Angry Princess for HorrorSociety.com
Mitch from over at Horrorsociety.com sent me this film to review for the site and it was pretty damn cool! The Open Door had a neat concept of this pirate radio show called The Oracle that turns up on the radio but only when it’s a full moon. If you listen to the show it creeps into your mind persuading you to call in and wish for what you want out of life- it’s one of those becareful of what you wish for kinda of things!
Angelica is a cute type of reserved girl who totally has it bad for the popular jock Brad. They are both into each other and agree to meet up at a party that night to hang out, you know what that really means- hook up. Stacy is Angelica’s bff forever but seems to have a very jealous and mean side to her. Like when Angelica can’t get to the party she hits on Brad herself.
Well after drunken confrontations and scheming fake friends the gang decides to head over to Angelica’s to try and scare her. Well guess what, the jokes on them! The demon is unleashed and will hop into whomever’s body that is available. The effects of this are totally satisfying and those blank whites of the eyes are creepy extras!
The chaos that ensues at this house is great, and just about consumes all of the characters. Can anyone escape the wishes that Angelica made unknowing the totally horrible circumstances that would occur? There is only one thing you can not do and that is revoke your wish. Once you make it be prepared to suffer the consequences!
Review (09/10/09) by Richard Purcell for Cyberphobias.com
"Don't worry honey, things will start to happen."
I've been sitting on my screener for The Open Door for about 3 weeks now and I apologize for that. First, I have to say that the trailer doesn't do this film justice. If you walked into a movie theater and TOD was playing, you would never know that this is an independent film. The plot revolves around an urban legend of a pirate radio station that appears only on full moons that will grant you your wildest dreams. Everyone seems to know someone who has claimed to have heard the broadcasts, but nobody really believes it exists.
The film opens with a very disturbing scene of a father holding his family hostage at gunpoint at the dinner table. There are tears and running mascara all around, and it is filmed in the best Crime TV fashion. We have no idea what has happened, and this really sets the tone of the film. Even during some of the lighter scenes later on, we still keep that underlying feeling of dread. We never forget that something horrifying is lurking right under the surface.
Cathrine Georges plays Angelica. People will want to remember her name because I'm sure that we will be hearing much more about her in the future. Angelica seems like that girl next door that everyone knows, and she really reminds me of Jaimie Lee Curtis from Halloween. Much like the original Laurie Strode, she is just a regular girl who is thrust into horrific circumstances that she cannot understand or control, and the audience just has to discover it and endure it with her. She acts just like a teenager really would for most of the film. When I realized this girl could act, I started paying attention to see if she was going to slip up. She didn't.
All of these young actors do a very good job with their roles. From Angelica's catty girlfriends (Sarah Christine Smith and Jessica Anne Osekowsky) to the jock (Daniel Booko) who will kick someone's ass one minute and then be grinning like a Cheshire cat the next, they are all surprisingly believable. Yes, I remember all these people from high school. I will not be surprised if many of these cast members go on to be the biggest stars in the world.
When Angelica is forced to stay home from a party, she tunes into the underground radio station and finds some comfort in the soothing voice that is like a motivational speaker from Hell. I've just realized that I wrote this review on 9-9-09, which is the same as the radio station frequency (99.9) which of course, is 666 turned upside down. She makes some seemingly innocent wishes that she soon learns to regret.
Almost immediately, strange things start to happen and we never seem to know what's going on. There are almost subliminal images that we're never really sure if we saw or not. When Angelica goes into the attic to look for "rats" there is a scene that I found so shocking that it caused chills to go through my shoulders every time I watched it, and the first time I saw it I dumped my drink all over my computer. It's been a long time since I've had that kind of emotional reaction from a horror movie, and I ended up watching the scene over and over again to try to figure out just what was so frightening about it. I would, however, recommend that you resist the urge to rewind and just pay attention to the flow of the film because it will work much better that way.
When Angelica's friends decide to pull a prank and scare her, all Hell breaks loose. Here's the disturbing thing about this film. We as an audience never fully understand what's going on, and the filmmakers don't feel the need to explain it to us right away. We have a good idea that it has something to do with the radio show, and it's obviously supernatural, but we don't know if this is a spirit, a demon, or some other force of nature. We have no idea why this entity is here. Is this force here to hurt Angelica, or protect her? Is it here to deal out some type of justice? If so, what is the crime? This is what I find the most unsettling about this film, the confusion and seeming randomness of it.
The practical effects, makeup, and stunts are also top rate. The burning man scene at the end is hard core. You just don't see real people on fire in movies anymore, especially in low budget films. It was also filmed very well, with many perfectly framed shots of the foreboding full moon scattered throughout. This is a franchise begging to happen. It's much more clever than the Final Destination movies or any of the watered down horror fare out there today. It is set up so there could easily be sequel or a prequel, and there seems to be unlimited possibilities. This is a film all horror fans need to see
Review (08/06/09) by Jordan Adams for Mymavra.com
Nothing loves demonic forces more than a disgruntled teenager, and vice versa. It's a perfect match. All of those pent-up angsty hormones and evil with a twist of chaos add up to a malevolent peanut butter jelly time. Even the goody-goody kids can snap under pressure. Before you know it, they're burning effigies, making blood oaths, and invoking the unknown (Not that that's a bad thing. Heck, I do all of that prior to writing.). The real problem is that the wacky teens can't control these powers any more than they can control anything else in their lives and the spirits tend to run amuck. Take a look inside "The Open Door" and see what can happen.
Angelica (Catherine Georges) is a nice girl with lousy taste in friends and more than a little on the naive side. Her BFF Staci (Sarah Christine Smith) manipulates her effortlessly while convincing her that other people (such as her parents) are the villains in her life. Angelica is in love with Brad (Mike Dunay), but Staci is seriously plotting to break up the would-be couple. When Angelica is grounded and forced to miss a party Staci was pushing her to attend, she seeks comfort in a pirate radio station that, local urban legends claim, is run by a prophet who will solve all problems.
While Staci is setting things in motion against Angelica's happiness at the party, Angelica dials up The Oracle from the radio and begins making wishes to the smooth, friendly voice that will better her life. She needs to be free of her parents' control, of the juvenile antics of unwanted suitor Owen (Ryan Doom) and his annoying pals, and she needs to be a one and only with Brad for the rest of their lives. Note: watch your wording when making those wishes kids. Before you can say "Your wish is my command", the evil gets cracking. No pussyfooting around on this one. You know right away that this isn't going to be Aladdin's genial Genie granting her wishes and that Angelica is about to learn some valuable lessons about trust, if she can survive.
"The Open Door" is a compellingly creepy film. The story is well written and effectively done and the actors play their parts quite well. Angelica is a feisty heroine, very much in the vein of Jamie Lee Curtis. I honestly would have been interested in knowing the outcome of some of the wishes granted by The Oracle to other callers, but the suspense and action resulting from Angelica's wish was bloody good fun. I can say that I'm pleased they left the door open for a sequel on this movie and that I'd not be shy about putting my foot in for a visit.
Review (08/01/09) by Duane L. Martin for Roguecinema.com
Angelica (Catherine Georges) has a crappy life. Her parents are overprotective bitches, her rich best friend is a backstabbing piece of crap that's trying to come between her and her boyfriend and there's this clique of arrogant, obnoxious jocks who are also apparently pretty well off considering one of them was driving the rest around in a new Hummer.
Angelica is destroyed when her parents won't let her go to the biggest party of the year, and she's tired of catching crap from all the jocks. Generally, she's just sick of everything in her life, but she's a good girl, so she does what her parents say and stays home on the night of the party, which also happens to be the one night of the month that the pirate radio station broadcasts on channel 99.9 FM. What's so special about that? Well, there's an urban legend that says that when people call into the show to talk to The Oracle, make their wishes, and then seal it with a vow, that their wishes will come true.
Sick of everyone walking all over her, Angelica tunes into the show, and finds encouragement in the words of the announcer who's telling everyone listening to take control of their lives and to stop letting others dictate to them. Then he turns the mic over to The Oracle, who promises the listeners that their wishes can come true if they only wish hard enough and make a vow. Fed up, she calls the show and tells The Oracle that she wishes that her parents wouldn't control her life anymore and that the jock kids would stop messing with her and that this other girl would never touch her boyfriend ever again, etc.... Once the wishes are made, The Oracle has her say the vow and then, well, I bet you can imagine what happens. Her best friend, the jocks, the girl who was touching her boyfriend...and her boyfriend all end up over at her house. That's when the evil entity shows up and starts possessing them once at a time and all hell starts breaking loose.
The Open Door is...well, let me preface this by saying I didn't really know what to expect. I kinda vaguely knew what it was about and I saw the trailer, but you never really know until you actually see the movie. What I got when I watched it though, is one of the best indie horror films I've seen in a very long time. The casting, the acting, the story, the stunts, the effects, the production quality...they were all absolutely first rate. The only thing that was good, but didn't really measure up was the visual quality of some of the darker scenes, which got a bit grainy at times. In general though, this was an amazingly well done indie horror film.
There were several things that really struck me as I watched this film. One big thing was the quality of the stunts. You don't often see a lot of good stunts in indie films, but this one had some really good fights and other things going on. Another thing that struck me were the great effects. When I say effects, that encompasses visual, make up, gore and other effects. All were far above and beyond anything you usually see in indie films.
The story itself, which is the foundation of any film, was really well written. The story flowed really well and was edited nice and tight so that no part of it felt like it was dragging, yet it progressed in such a slow, methodical manner that it really built up to the climax in a great way.
As for the cast, each person really brought out the best in their character and really understood their role. Doc Duhame wrote and directed this film, and I'm sure he had a hand in helping his cast to really shine. These folks are all very talented and should be really proud of the work they did in this film.
It's nice to come across an indie film of this caliber. It really shows what indies are capable of with a decent budget and a highly talented cast and crew. This film was far better than most of the watered down, crap horror films coming out of Hollywood today. Hollywood's pretty much forgotten what horror is supposed to be. I keep waiting for them to put out a damn horror film with freakin' muppets in it. It's gotten that lame. Sure there's an occasional gem that squeaks through their grubby fingers, but for the most part, if you want great horror, you go indie. This film is one of the greats, and I highly recommend it. You will absolutely not be disappointed with this one. It's simply put, a really fabulous example of the best in indie horror.
Review (07/29/09) by Nic Brown for Bmovieman.com
Life can be filled with problems. To a teenager, things like being grounded and missing a party can seem like an Earth-shattering tragedy. Sometimes what a person needs is for someone to listen to them - someone who understands their pain and doesn’t trivialize the problems that to them seem so huge. Even better, what if that person lending an ear could not only offer them advice, but perhaps even grant them a wish or two? It would be hard to resist such temptation; but the old saying is true: you must be careful what you wish for because you just might get it.
In writer/director Doc Duhame’s film THE OPEN DOOR, an urban legend about a pirate radio station that only broadcasts on the night of the full moon and grants callers their heart’s desire proves to be all too real for a group of California teenagers. Angelica (Catherine Georges) loves the star of the football team Brad (Mike Dunay) and she’s friends with Staci (Sarah Christine Smith) one of her school’s “In” crowd. Angelica is even the object of desire for the clique’s leader, Owen (Ryan Doom). Unfortunately for her though, her parents don’t see these as good things and believe that Angelica is falling in with a bad crowd. They forbid her from going to a party with Brad and tell her she can’t see her new friends anymore.
It is during the height of Angelica’s anguish over the treatment her parents have given her that she remembers the legend of the pirate radio show. She scans the dial and soon finds it. As she listens to the show it is almost like the DJ is speaking directly to her, as he talks about taking control and doing what you want instead of what others want you to. The DJ soon introduces the Oracle, a woman who claims to help people fulfill their hearts desire. All you must do is tell her what you want and make a pact with her to get it. As the evening wears on, Angelica becomes more and more upset about her situation, especially when it appears that she may lose Brad. Finally Angelica gives in and calls the Oracle. Little does she know that the pact she’s made really will grant her what she’s wished for, but not in the way she expects. As her friends begin dying, Angelica learns that the pact has opened a door for something evil to come in and now she and her friends are going to pay.
Doc Duhame’s THE OPEN DOOR is a supernatural horror film that packs a punch. The story is a well-crafted mix of PUMP UP THE VOLUME and Clive Barker’s WISHMASTER. The idea that you have to be careful what you wish for is a popular theme in supernatural horror, and watching Angelica’s friends and family face death and destruction through her seemingly harmless wishes is disturbing. The evil force unleashed by the Oracle takes no true form, but moves from person to person, possessing them and using their bodies to do its bidding. This makes fighting it impossible without hurting the ones it controls as well.
The special effects are another high point. There is some CGI, but Duhame doesn’t make the effects the center of the story. It also doesn’t go in for being overly graphic with the gore. There is some, but the movie does not depend on it for shock value. The film is well cast, but possibly the best performance comes from Georges as Angelica. Georges brings good emotional depth to the character without going overboard with the angst filled teen side of it. Smith’s portrayal of Staci is also worth mentioning, although the story about why the pair are “best friends forever” in the first place could use more development. The two characters are so different from one another that their friendship feels forced at times. The intention there may be that Staci was only friends with Angelica in order to help Owen get her, but even that idea seems underdeveloped. Minor issues aside, THE OPEN DOOR is definitely worth watching. So if you’re wishing for a good horror film to pass the time when the moon is full, check out THE OPEN DOOR, but remember to be careful what you wish for.
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