The idea of a party you can’t leave isn’t a new one. That’s the whole hook of Spanish surrealist Luis Buñuel’s 1962 classic The Exterminating Angel, after all. However, the invitees in the 2015 movie Death’s Door, aren’t trapped by symbolism. This is a horror movie and they’re being picked off.
What to Expect When You’re Expecting Party Guests
A group of young people receive anonymous texts inviting them to a party. For some reason, they all actually accept the invite. Or at least, a dozen men and women show up to a decrepit mansion. You might wonder why they’d not only accept an anonymous invitation, but go in a strange house. However, that’s the kind of detail you’ll find in horror movies. People do dumb things and boy, do they pay for it.
And it’s not like the party looks any better once they’re inside. That’s where Jomo (Tony “Tiny” Lister), clad in a forbidding robe, greets them. He’s not much of a party host, as he mostly just glares at the attendees. So the party-goers have to make their own fun. But then things get weird.
The mansion is a lot like the famous Winchester Mystery House. Once the party guests realize that they can’t get out the front or back doors, they explore the rest of the house. But the doors aren’t functioning in reality. They don’t lead where they’re supposed to go. Some doors open to reveal other doors, while other doors lead to rooms they haven’t seen before. All of them are trap doors, hence why the original version was titled The Trap Door.
Gradually, the invitees realize that someone wanted them in this house for a reason. It has something to do with Mesmer the Magnificent (Obba Babatundé), a magician from the 1930s. Jomo, by the way, was his assistant back then. If you’re thinking that he looks great for a man in his 100s, then that’s a clue. And it’s one the party-goers will have to ponder, as they puzzle out why someone invited them. What do they all have in common?
Behind the Camera (and In Front): Cast and Crew of Death’s Door, the 2015 Movie
Kennedy Goldsby wrote and directed Death’s Door. As I mentioned, it’s actually a reworking of his 2011 movie The Trap Door. According to one reviewer who watched both, though, there is little difference in the two. Mainly, the only difference is that Goldsby moved an exposition sequence from the beginning of the movie to the end. He likely did this to heighten the mystery, leaving viewers to wonder what’s going on, instead of their finding it out from the start.
Besides veteran character actors like Lister and Babatundé, the movie features a cast of mostly unknowns. These include Danielle Lilley as Suzanne and Francis Hamilton as Gary. Chico Benymon, who has appeared on shows like The Haunted Hathaways and Half and Half, also appears in this movie as Bruce.
Critic’s Corner: What People Are Saying
Unfortunately, Death’s Door garnered mostly negative reviews. Professional writers mentioned quality issues, particularly with continuity, in their reviews. For example, there are characters who appear in one scene with a group, while simultaneously showing up in another group. These writers also criticized the character development, or lack thereof. There was a sameness to the characters that caused them to get mixed up.
Home viewers haven’t praised the movie, either. Many of them mentioned that the movie relies on cheap scares and lots of screaming. In addition, the murders take place off-screen, which usually doesn’t play well with horror fans. Finally, there’s the ending, which viewers found lackluster and illogical.
Death’s Door is available on demand on Roku – sign up and watch it on HorrorMax TV!
featured image via Indie Rights
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Salomé Gonstad is a freelance writer who grew up in the swampy wilds of south Alabama. She now splits her time between the Appalachian wilds (of Alabama) and the considerably more refined streets of New York City. When she's not yelling about pop culture on the internet, she's working on a supernatural thriller about her hometown. Also, we're pretty sure she's a werewolf.