An ambitious sci-fi/horror flick stands on the porch and fumbles for its keys
Film by Jorge Ignacio Castillo
The omnibus movie — a production on-a-budget in which multiple directors tackle the same subject in loosely related segments — is a risky proposition. In the best case, you get a film of even quality that’s cohesive enough to make sense (Southbound). But in most cases the result is a hodgepodge of ideas that keeps viewers hoping in vain that the next section will be better (The ABC’s of Death).
Doors sits somewhere in between. The setup is the main element the movie has going for it: Without warning or discernible purpose, thousands of fuzzy, wheezing doors pop up around the world. They’re passages, presumably to alternate dimensions, and can communicate with humans telepathically. Millions of people cross the gates and are never seen again.
The first segment is like The Breakfast Club with a creepy twist, the second focuses on explorers crossing over to investigate, the third concerns the single individual able to communicate with a door and the final (and weakest) revolves around a shock DJ who has been exploiting the phenomenon for attention. The doors operate as catalysts: people approach them the same way they approach life.
Existential horror is seldom scary without a phenomenal script. Weirdness aside, Doors comes up way short. The film also invites unflattering comparisons with the similarly themed and much, much better The Leftovers. In that series, two per cent of the population disappears and chaos becomes the norm. In this movie, half the world’s population vanishes but the impact is barely hinted at.
The chapters have another thing in common beside the subject: each segment starts with promise and ends in disappointment. Kudos for effort (a trans teen is one of the leads, very nice), but if I wanted to watch pseudo-metaphysical sci-fi a la Brit Marling (The OA), I would go to the source. And I really, really wouldn’t.