The Devil's Doorway Reviews

  • Jun 15, 2020

    The "found footage" format is overused in that very few films have done it without stretching the logic of someone constantly running around with a camera in dire situations. This film would have benefited from a more conventional filming format; the "found footage" angle here is just distracting. The plot is a dull as an unsalted cracker, although the setting is fantastic. With some imagination, this could have overcome even the "found footage" shortcomings. But instead, the writer decided to take the floor scrapings of better horror movies and sprinkle them throughout this tale. The characters are also rather flimsy: Doubting priest? Check. Young, naive priest to act as a foil? Check. Overbearing, sadistic nun? Check. Pregnancy shame? Check. Staid superstitious hokum? Check. The acting is notable and ultimately is what makes this predictable story entertaining. This movie passes the time, but doesn't offer anything new to the genre.

    The "found footage" format is overused in that very few films have done it without stretching the logic of someone constantly running around with a camera in dire situations. This film would have benefited from a more conventional filming format; the "found footage" angle here is just distracting. The plot is a dull as an unsalted cracker, although the setting is fantastic. With some imagination, this could have overcome even the "found footage" shortcomings. But instead, the writer decided to take the floor scrapings of better horror movies and sprinkle them throughout this tale. The characters are also rather flimsy: Doubting priest? Check. Young, naive priest to act as a foil? Check. Overbearing, sadistic nun? Check. Pregnancy shame? Check. Staid superstitious hokum? Check. The acting is notable and ultimately is what makes this predictable story entertaining. This movie passes the time, but doesn't offer anything new to the genre.

  • Apr 25, 2020

    cool footy, gets old quick. everyone is lying

    cool footy, gets old quick. everyone is lying

  • Feb 03, 2020

    The acting was spot on, and well done. That's pretty much all that's good about this film. This film offers nothing new in the found-footage genre. Peppered with typical horror movie clichés and jumpscares, and the ending was slightly predictable. I would give this movie 1 star for its storyline, but I'm giving it an extra 2 stars JUST for the acting. The actors - especially the 2 lead actors - made this piece-of-shit-script of a movie really work! (As much as I wanted to hate on this movie, I found myself rooting for Fr. Thomas to get out of that underground cave - But we all know how the story ends for most protagonists in the found footage horror genre...)

    The acting was spot on, and well done. That's pretty much all that's good about this film. This film offers nothing new in the found-footage genre. Peppered with typical horror movie clichés and jumpscares, and the ending was slightly predictable. I would give this movie 1 star for its storyline, but I'm giving it an extra 2 stars JUST for the acting. The actors - especially the 2 lead actors - made this piece-of-shit-script of a movie really work! (As much as I wanted to hate on this movie, I found myself rooting for Fr. Thomas to get out of that underground cave - But we all know how the story ends for most protagonists in the found footage horror genre...)

  • Sep 04, 2019

    Admittedly, I am a bit of a sucker when it comes to found footage flicks, even enjoying ones that are universally derided by critics. Call it a guilty pleasure for genres. But I also think that The Devil's Doorway is a really creative and rather suspenseful film, especially with the use of Super 8 film as this took place in 1960. Admittedly as someone who is not Irish, trying to understand the dialogue is a bit tricky since the accents are thick, compounded by the fact that with using super 8 films, the voice audio comes off as muffled. There are also some technical aspect that I personally found confusing, the biggest aspect being the voices of the otherworldly entities. I won't spoil anything, but the voices of the entities are unusually crisp and clear. I can't tell if this aesthetic was a deliberate choice or not, but for me, it comes off as a bit distracting. But overall I found the film to be very entertaining and worth a watch, with subtitles of course.

    Admittedly, I am a bit of a sucker when it comes to found footage flicks, even enjoying ones that are universally derided by critics. Call it a guilty pleasure for genres. But I also think that The Devil's Doorway is a really creative and rather suspenseful film, especially with the use of Super 8 film as this took place in 1960. Admittedly as someone who is not Irish, trying to understand the dialogue is a bit tricky since the accents are thick, compounded by the fact that with using super 8 films, the voice audio comes off as muffled. There are also some technical aspect that I personally found confusing, the biggest aspect being the voices of the otherworldly entities. I won't spoil anything, but the voices of the entities are unusually crisp and clear. I can't tell if this aesthetic was a deliberate choice or not, but for me, it comes off as a bit distracting. But overall I found the film to be very entertaining and worth a watch, with subtitles of course.

  • May 24, 2019

    Good premise and would've been better with a different filming style. Hate the found footage bs and at one point I wanted to slap the one dude. Also the cliche of the light that keeps going out creating a semi strobe like effect. Lights don't work like that. Pisses me off

    Good premise and would've been better with a different filming style. Hate the found footage bs and at one point I wanted to slap the one dude. Also the cliche of the light that keeps going out creating a semi strobe like effect. Lights don't work like that. Pisses me off

  • Feb 20, 2019

    unexpectedly fantastic horror. full of suspended and jumps.

    unexpectedly fantastic horror. full of suspended and jumps.

  • Dec 18, 2018

    This looks absolutely incredible! Have watched using boxxy software

    This looks absolutely incredible! Have watched using boxxy software

  • Oct 26, 2018

    Has a couple scares but not scary overall. The movie was more about hating the head of the convent. Acting was solid and cinematography was great.

    Has a couple scares but not scary overall. The movie was more about hating the head of the convent. Acting was solid and cinematography was great.

  • Oct 22, 2018

    Unexpectedly impressive Taking its inspiration from the history of Magdalene Laundries in Ireland, specifically the Bon Secours Mother and Baby Home in Tuam, Aislinn Clarke's laudable debut feature, The Devil's Doorway, is a found-footage horror film. It undeniably has its share of cliches, but overall it's an impressive piece of work, dealing in an interesting manner with a truly shameful part of Irish history. Ireland, 1960. Fr. Thomas Riley (Lalor Roddy) and Fr. John Thornton (Ciaran Flynn) have been dispatched by the Vatican to a Magdalene Laundry to investigate a Marian statue bleeding from the eyes. Although Thomas is determined to find the "trickster" behind the bleeding statue, his initial focus is the manner in which the girls in the laundry are treated by the nuns. Because of this, he immediately butts heads with the rigid Mother Superior (Helena Bereen). However, with Thomas's focus on the girls, John comes to feel that something supernatural is happening; he hears and later sees bedraggled children playing in the corridors; handprints appear on his window; strange sounds emanate from the bowels of the laundry. Between 1765 and 1996, it is estimated that upwards of 30,000 "fallen women" were confined in these laundries; sex workers, orphans, victims of rape and child abuse, the mentally ill, young girls considered too flirtatious; those who became pregnant out of wedlock. Essentially used as an unpaid slave labour force, they spent their days washing sheets, and were physically and psychologically abused by the nuns, with the Church hierarchy fully aware of what was happening behind closed doors. One might think that nothing more horrific could be made of this subject than the facts of the case; after all, Peter Mullan's The Magdalene Sisters (2002) is a horror film in everything but name. However, Clarke and her co-writers Martin Brennan and Michael B. Jackson are far more concerned with the shifting moral positions of the two priests than with devils and demons. In this sense, the film is about human evil - the primary story is not the investigation into the statue, it's the discovery that the institution has been discarding the bodies of dead children in an underground catacomb; so whilst the Church preached morality, warning of the esoteric dangers of contraception, the evils of homosexuality, and the iniquity of blasphemy, they condoned the torture of woman and the unsanctified burial of children. Looking at issues such as blind faith and the history of organised religions' tendency to marginalise women, Clarke exposes the Church's duplicity, laying bare their contemptible and self-serving role in Irish history, and it's this anger that lingers far longer than any of the film's genre elements. One of the film's greatest strengths is Lalor Roddy's performance as Thomas. Playing the priest as cynical and disheartened, worn down by years of debunking claims of miracles, he is well aware of Church hypocrisy, with his layered performance the main reason the film works so well emotionally. Painfully aware that acceptance of dogma, faith in the Church, and belief in God are three very different things, Thomas finds it increasingly difficult to reconcile his love for God with the practices the Church carry out in His name. Aesthetically, the 1.37:1 Academy Ratio, complete with rounded corners, has the effect of making Ryan Kernaghan's images look like historic photographs. The shaky and imperfect footage also gives the film a sense of an old cinema verite-style documentary, with the amount of artefacts helping to sell the first-person immediacy - lens flares and burn-outs are especially common. Granted, the Bolex camera manages to pick up far more detail in dark locations than would be possible, but this is a relatively minor gripe when the overall look is so good. This point also nicely illustrates the avoidance of a pitfall of found-footage horror films - why the hell don't they drop the camera and get out of Dodge. A problem in many such films, here, the answer is simple - in many scenes, the camera is providing the only source of light. Of course, the film isn't perfect. As it nears its climax, it regurgitates a number of genre cliches - floating beds, upside down crucifixes, scary nuns, creepy kids, creepy dolls, skeletons, underground caverns. Falling back a little too much on the generic conventions it has managed to avoid until the last half hour or so, in this sense, it ultimately plays it disappointingly safe. However, all things considered, this is an excellent piece of work, and an accomplished debut. Far better than the majority of found-footage movies, the acting is terrific, and it's properly creepy in places. Perhaps most importantly, however, if you can look past the hokum, you'll find a socially conscious film engaging with a painful national scandal.

    Unexpectedly impressive Taking its inspiration from the history of Magdalene Laundries in Ireland, specifically the Bon Secours Mother and Baby Home in Tuam, Aislinn Clarke's laudable debut feature, The Devil's Doorway, is a found-footage horror film. It undeniably has its share of cliches, but overall it's an impressive piece of work, dealing in an interesting manner with a truly shameful part of Irish history. Ireland, 1960. Fr. Thomas Riley (Lalor Roddy) and Fr. John Thornton (Ciaran Flynn) have been dispatched by the Vatican to a Magdalene Laundry to investigate a Marian statue bleeding from the eyes. Although Thomas is determined to find the "trickster" behind the bleeding statue, his initial focus is the manner in which the girls in the laundry are treated by the nuns. Because of this, he immediately butts heads with the rigid Mother Superior (Helena Bereen). However, with Thomas's focus on the girls, John comes to feel that something supernatural is happening; he hears and later sees bedraggled children playing in the corridors; handprints appear on his window; strange sounds emanate from the bowels of the laundry. Between 1765 and 1996, it is estimated that upwards of 30,000 "fallen women" were confined in these laundries; sex workers, orphans, victims of rape and child abuse, the mentally ill, young girls considered too flirtatious; those who became pregnant out of wedlock. Essentially used as an unpaid slave labour force, they spent their days washing sheets, and were physically and psychologically abused by the nuns, with the Church hierarchy fully aware of what was happening behind closed doors. One might think that nothing more horrific could be made of this subject than the facts of the case; after all, Peter Mullan's The Magdalene Sisters (2002) is a horror film in everything but name. However, Clarke and her co-writers Martin Brennan and Michael B. Jackson are far more concerned with the shifting moral positions of the two priests than with devils and demons. In this sense, the film is about human evil - the primary story is not the investigation into the statue, it's the discovery that the institution has been discarding the bodies of dead children in an underground catacomb; so whilst the Church preached morality, warning of the esoteric dangers of contraception, the evils of homosexuality, and the iniquity of blasphemy, they condoned the torture of woman and the unsanctified burial of children. Looking at issues such as blind faith and the history of organised religions' tendency to marginalise women, Clarke exposes the Church's duplicity, laying bare their contemptible and self-serving role in Irish history, and it's this anger that lingers far longer than any of the film's genre elements. One of the film's greatest strengths is Lalor Roddy's performance as Thomas. Playing the priest as cynical and disheartened, worn down by years of debunking claims of miracles, he is well aware of Church hypocrisy, with his layered performance the main reason the film works so well emotionally. Painfully aware that acceptance of dogma, faith in the Church, and belief in God are three very different things, Thomas finds it increasingly difficult to reconcile his love for God with the practices the Church carry out in His name. Aesthetically, the 1.37:1 Academy Ratio, complete with rounded corners, has the effect of making Ryan Kernaghan's images look like historic photographs. The shaky and imperfect footage also gives the film a sense of an old cinema verite-style documentary, with the amount of artefacts helping to sell the first-person immediacy - lens flares and burn-outs are especially common. Granted, the Bolex camera manages to pick up far more detail in dark locations than would be possible, but this is a relatively minor gripe when the overall look is so good. This point also nicely illustrates the avoidance of a pitfall of found-footage horror films - why the hell don't they drop the camera and get out of Dodge. A problem in many such films, here, the answer is simple - in many scenes, the camera is providing the only source of light. Of course, the film isn't perfect. As it nears its climax, it regurgitates a number of genre cliches - floating beds, upside down crucifixes, scary nuns, creepy kids, creepy dolls, skeletons, underground caverns. Falling back a little too much on the generic conventions it has managed to avoid until the last half hour or so, in this sense, it ultimately plays it disappointingly safe. However, all things considered, this is an excellent piece of work, and an accomplished debut. Far better than the majority of found-footage movies, the acting is terrific, and it's properly creepy in places. Perhaps most importantly, however, if you can look past the hokum, you'll find a socially conscious film engaging with a painful national scandal.

  • Sep 13, 2018

    The Blair Witch goes Catholic! Still - it was entertaining if you're into the history of exorcisms, coverups and the church,

    The Blair Witch goes Catholic! Still - it was entertaining if you're into the history of exorcisms, coverups and the church,