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Review: DOOR IN THE WOODS (2019)

Moving is never fun. Packing, unpacking, getting used to your new home. It’s a major pain, and no matter how nice your new home is, it always needs a few things. So you’re off to the mall, the thrift store or, in the case of writer/director Billy Chase Goforth’s Door In The Woods, you take a stroll in the forest. Well, it is cheaper than going to Home Depot

Redd (David Rees Snell) and his wife Evelyn (Jennifer Pierce Mathus, Assimilate) have relocated to a new city, Their son Kane (John-Michael Fisher) isn’t taking this well and is having troubles in school. She calls in Uriah (CJ Jones, Castle Rock), a local psychic, to do a reading. Among other things, he warns her about opening a portal or doorway.

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So when they go for a stroll in the woods and find a door, what do they do? I wouldn’t need a warning from a psychic to know to leave it there. Redd and Evelyn aren’t so smart. They find a door wrapped in chains and padlocked in a clearing, and they bring it home. The house needs a closet door, and you can’t beat free, right?

It’s no sooner refinished and installed than strange things start happening. Food is found half-eaten, a coat pocket fills with maggots. Then the ghosts start showing up. Uriah tells them to get rid of the door, but there’s just one problem. They can’t uninstall it, it refuses to be removed. Apparently it once was part of a house where several kids vanished. And Kane, of course, is next. Now his parents, with the aid of Uriah, will have to brave whatever is on the other side to rescue him.

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Door In The Woods is yet another decent but unremarkable film. It starts out heavy on the family drama, with a few scares nicely woven in. But they’re so familiar, the effect is muted. The door opening itself, the long-haired child ghost wandering their hallway, etc. And there’s still the whole bit about bringing the door home in the first place. Wouldn’t the risk of mould or termites be reason enough to leave it where you found it?

The last half hour works up some decent scares and certainly didn’t play out as I expected. But Door In The Woods lack of budget and effects hurts it here. The world behind the door and its denizens are barely glimpsed, and that feels like a cheat. Don’t promise what you can’t deliver. The final scene does end things on an “Oh Shit” note, I will give the film credit for that.

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Door In The Woods is an acceptable watch, just don’t expect much that you haven’t seen before. It’s available on DVD and streaming from Wild Eye Releasing. You can check its website and Facebook page for more details.

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