Never Open the Door is an effective homage to old school horror, with a modern sensibility, that delivers in both style and substance.
When six friends get together to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner, they think they’re in for a good time with lots of food. When an unexpected knock at the door brings in an uninvited guest, their relaxing night turns into a nightmarish fight for survival.
From the opening title sequence, I could already tell I was in for a good time with Never Open the Door.
The film has a wonderful and spot on B-movie tone and style that was consistent throughout. It really felt like a late night flick you’d find on cable and end up watching to the end. The score tops off the tone like a cherry on top, with a loud and telling horn section that has a classic sci-fi/adventure/thriller vibe reminiscent of 1950’s visitors from outer space movies.
The music dovetails nicely with the black and white cinematography and practical effects that recall Hammer horror of the 1950s and sixties.
The filmmakers did their homework when it comes to classic horror/science fiction, and it shows. Not only does the black and white picture add to the style the film is going for, it’s also a nice symbolic reference to the good happening in the lives of the characters (weddings, babies) and the random, unpredictable evil that can takeover the lives of people in the blink of an eye.
What is also noteworthy is not only how the filmmakers use classic horror to set the tone of Never Open the Door, but also how they bring it up-to-date with modern dialogue and speech patterns.
The opening scene has the group of friends eating dinner and engaged in conversation. The conversation is remarkably natural sounding with constant overlapping dialogue. The whole scene has a modern improvised feeling to it, and this approach, for the most part, feels noticeable throughout the film. I say that as a good thing, as it made several moments truly feel spontaneous and real with actors repeating some of the same lines a few times in a row — just as anyone would be inclined to do when faced with a real life surreal and distressing situation.
Once the unwanted visitor is in the house, the character of Tess (Jessica Sonneborn) begins to have startling and scary visions. This is when the melodramatic, old school horror, twisty Twilight Zone-like fun begins!
There’s a wonderful movie from writer/director Isaac Ezban called ‘The Similar’ (find it on Netflix) that would make the perfect companion piece to ‘Never Open the Door’ for a nice double feature. Both have a wonderfully nostalgic science fiction melodrama tone laced with an underlying horror that grips the viewer and leaves them questioning everything right up until the end credits roll.
If you get a chance, I encourage you to check this one out —a very interesting and entertaining film. Amazon Prime members can watch this one for free by clicking here.