Director – Chris Gorak
Cast – Rory Cochrane, Mary McCormack, Tony Perez, Scotty Noyd Jr., Jon Huertas, Max Kasch
Release Year – 2006
Reviewed by John of the Dead
I first heard of this film a few years ago, but it did not strike me as a “horror” film, so as far as reviewing goes I took my time getting to this one. Seeing that Bloody-Disgusting gave it a review, I thought that maybe it included enough horror to warrant a review from myself, but given B-D also reviews non-horror films I was still skeptical going into this watch. Well, after viewing the film I can say that it is not a devout horror film, but it does include enough horror(in multiple varieties) to strike good fear in the viewer, and gave a fantastic take on the catastrophic events that would ensue in the event of a dirty bomb hitting a big city, a realistic idea for this day and age.
Brad(Rory Cochrane) and Lexi(Mary McCormack) wake up just as they do every morning: Brad, a work-from-home musician, makes coffee for the two of them and Lexi leaves to work shortly after, but today will not be like any normal day. Soon after Lexi leaves for work news flashes regarding explosions downtown(where Lexi works) plague the TV and radio waves, leading Brad to venture from his home in desperate search of his wife when she fails to answer her cell phone. Brad’s search for his wife is short-lived though when police and military units shut down traffic going to or from downtown, forcing him to remain home for the meantime. When hours pass and he hears nothing from his wife, the escalating threat that the explosion could include chemical agents forces him to seal-off his home from the outside world, a decision that while logical and the smart thing to do…delivers horrifying results.
There are certain post-apocalyptic films that really did not phase me as horror films, The Book of Eli being one of them, but in the case of Right At Your Door we are given a film who’s storyline is meant to provide the utmost of horror based on a real-life scenario, and I dug that. Right off the back I will say that this is a film that will result in much discussion between those who have seen it, and that is because of how extremely well-written the story is. It does not take long before we are exposed to the confusion and chaos surrounding Brad regarding his missing and potentially dead wife, and if you allow yourself to be enveloped into the film and put yourself in his shoes then the paranoia should hit you as well. Brad is forced to make harrowing decisions that are only worsened in that they need to be made within seconds, leaving him to not take into consideration every possible element and just do what he can to survive the ordeal. It is his decision making that will result in the discussion regarding this film, and it also is the basis for most of the fantastic character-driven horror we are given. I do not wish to give too much away and ruin the experience for you, but let’s just say that given the numerous circumstances that had to be taken into consideration, Brad made the right decisions, but in the case of this Chris Gorak story…what’s right is wrong, especially when you consider the film’s hard-hitting and horrific climax.
We get a few other characters thrown into the mix; Lexi, a neighbor, and a young boy, with each contributing positively to the the story. Time and time again I see films that throw in useless characters just to keep things from getting boring, but that is not the case with this well-written piece.
Gorak supplemented his awesome story with equally fantastic direction, expertly developing the film quickly and never losing steam as other quick-developing films do. His execution is top-notch, and he makes the most out of the little sets used(most of the film takes place in Brad and Lexi’s home) and instead relies on executing his story and characters to sell the film. The atmosphere is perfect, and Gorak’s dark cinematography was made even better after the dirty bomb hit and forced ash to cover nearly everything we see on screen. Personally, I enjoyed that the film took place mainly inside the couple’s home, and for obvious reasons. You should also know by now that I love nowhere-to-runs scenarios, and Brad being sealed-up in his home qualifies as one given that if he leaves his home to render aid to someone(more discussion-inducing scenes) he not only exposes himself to the chemical agent but anyone else he will later come in contact with. Rory Cochrane was fantastic as Brad, and he went to hell and back for this character who went to hell but never really came back. Most of the horror presented comes from our characters and the horror that they face, which thanks to Gorak’s full-frontal visuals allows the viewer to better feel the horror going on with the characters.
Overall, Right At Your Door is a fantastic film that expertly portrays the horrors that can be associated with the simple idea of a dirty bomb set off in a large metropolitan area. Fear, paranoia, and utter chaos reign supreme in this film, and Chris Gorak’s fantastic story will leave a long-standing impression on your due to Chris Gorak’s fantastic writing/direction, which coupled with the flick’s lack of exposure we are given one of the most under-appreciated horror films of recent time.