Directed by Chris Gorak
Right at Your Door is one of those Fantasia films that people are buzzing about the day of its initial screening, even a few days before. Everyone’s very excited to see it, but I was smart enough to keep my ears closed so I didn’t know enough about it to go in with expectations. All I knew was that a lot of people said it was really good; hell, even festival programmer Mitch Davis introduced it as the best of their Urban Apocalypse series. But I was levelheaded about it, damnit.
You know a film has done something on an emotional level if, when someone turns to you afterwards and says “what did you think?” you genuinely don’t know.. Still, I’m on the fence about how much I liked it and how much my enjoyment was tempered by some decisions made very early on that affected the rest of the film.
So the story starts off right outside of LA; Brad (Cochran) is an out-of-work musician who is basically serving duties as a house husband for his wife Lexi (McCormack), a career woman. They say their goodbyes for the day just like any other, with Lexi taking off to work on the 101 into LA. A short while later a news report comes on the radio Brad is listening to announcing that explosive devices have been detonated across LA, and all hell has broken loose.
Brad realizes that Lexi was in one of the spots where the bombs were detonated and scrambles to try and find what’s happened to her. Unable to reach her by phone, he jumps in his truck and attempts to get to the highway, but as one would imagine, everything is blocked and guarded by police since no one really knows what’s going on.
Back at the house, Brad is joined by the neighbor’s handyman, who just happened to be stuck outside when the first reports came in that the bombs might have been dirty, aka toxic chemical bombs. They’re told via the radio to seal the house as best they can, which they do a quickly as possible, Brad leaving the front door for absolute last in case Lexi comes back.
And just when it’s starting to look like she’s not going to be back, she runs up to the front door, which, much to her distress, Brad won’t open for her. See, the news is telling everyone that those in the blast could very well infect others and must be quarantined, so Brad refuses to run the risk of them all dying.
Here’s where the emotional part comes in; it’s a very personal decision whether or not you would allow your own wife in when she’s been exposed to toxic chemicals, and if you can’t buy that someone wouldn’t, well, that’s where Right at Your Door might lose some people.
So I was beginning to think that I didn’t like the movie overall until we had gone out afterwards for drinks at the local Fantasia watering hole and, much to my surprise, continued to debate the film for at least a good hour or so. The fact that a lot of very opinionated people can hang out afterwards and discuss a movie for so long, what worked for them and what didn’t, is a good sign that director Gorak knew what the hell he was doing when he sat down to write Right at Your Door.
Whether the rest of the film works for you or not, one thing you can’t help but appreciate is the small-scale story about a large-scale tragedy. If something like this were really to happen in or around LA, or any major city for that matter, there would be madness on the streets and news reports coming in 24/7. Gorak chose to convey that all from one man’s perspective, someone close enough to the city to be able to see the aftermath of the destruction but not close enough to be in a target range. This allowed the story to tell of horror and death on a massive scale while staying on one location the entire time. It’s something that’s becoming more and more prominent these days (indeed that’s part of what Fantasia’s Urban Apocalypse film series if focusing on) and, if it’s done with the kind of skill Gorak possess, can be very effective.
Right at Your Door is a movie that’s hard to define; it’s frantic, emotional, and full of a person making decisions you and I will hopefully never have to worry about in our lifetimes, and for that reason alone I have to recommend this to people. It’s not often a movie can prompt one to ponder it for so long afterwards, to actually think about what happened and how you would deal with it rather than just filing it away as another movie you’ve seen.
The film will be shown in the States via a limited release this August 24th, so be sure to make your way out to see it to make the call for yourself!
4 out of 5
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