Three happy couples retreat to a cozy secluded cabin in the woods to enjoy Thanksgiving. A badly wounded stranger appears at the door, and when they let him in, he throws up blood and collapses on the floor. As he dies, he points towards the lovers and croaks his final words: "Never open the door". The dumbfounded group of friends start to panic as one of their own inexplicably disappears. Doubt rises by the minute and mistrust soaks through the cabin. As strange men surround the cabin, escape becomes paramount. Who will open the door?
Director Vito Trabucco and writer Christopher Maltauro certainly have a love for old Hollywood horror films and television shows. There 2014 film 'Never Open the Door' pays homage to those early 'Twilight Zone' and Alfred Hitchcock films, which Maltauro's grandfather directed quite a few episodes of. This very short 64 minute film has a great setup for something great and fresh to the horror genre, but its lousy script, wonky editing, weird timeline, and lazy performances all bring down this film and makes it seem like a two hour endeavor rather than a 64 minute 'Twilight Zone' episode.
There is never really an explanation for anything that happens, which is fine, but if it's just for the sake of winking at a previous film or to extend the run time, then what is the point of forwarding this story. 'Never Open The Door' starts out with several friends who have gathered at a remote cabin in the woods for Thanksgiving. Things seem fun with almost witty banter amongst friends, but then there are some loud knocks on the door.
Eventually someone opens the door and a mortally wounded man stumbles in, coughs up blood on someone and dies. Soon, there are voices, hallucinations, ghastly images, and "clones" roaming the ground, scaring everyone in the house, as everyone tries to figure out the source of these occurrences. This sounds like a solid premise to a promising horror film, but everything crashes into the wall early on and never recovers. Nothing is fluid, smooth, or makes any real sense.
The black and white color scheme is a good nod to the older films and television shows and Carlos Vivas' score is similar to those older projects, but that is probably the best thing to come from 'Never Open the Door'. It almost seems like Trabucco and Maltauro had a good one page synopsis, but failed to write a script and thought just adding the same scenes over and over would be poetic and different. Neither is the case. Instead, this is just lazy filmmaking.
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
'Never Open the Door' comes with a 25GB Blu-ray Disc with a MPEG-2 encode from Maltauro Entertainment that is Region A Locked. There is no digital download code or insert for the film. The disc is housed in a hard, blue plastic case without a cardboard sleeve.
'Never Open the Door' comes with a 1080p HD transfer presented in 1.78:1 aspect ratio. This film comes from a company called Maltauro Entertainment, which Chris Maltauro wrote and produced the film. This is a very low budget film and a low budget Blu-ray with only a MPEG-2 encoding on a 25 GB Blu-ray disc. For this low budget release, the film is surprisingly sharp with closeups that reveal makeup effects and individual hairs.
Wider shots look soft though. The black and white color balance looks good, but the black levels are never truly deep and inky. The gray scale looks decent though. Video noise is present throughout , but other video issues are non-existent. For a low budget film, this seems to do a decent job, but it's not that impressive.
There is a Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo mix here that never fully utilizes or immerses you into the haunting setting that is 'Never Open the Door'. The decent score sounds great, but never sounds as open as it should. The sound effects of the creepy noises in the house would have benefitted use of surround speakers, but are relegated to the fronts, which sound softer than they should as well. Dialogue is clear and easy to follow though and there are no pops, cracks, hiss, or shrills. Don't expect a low end here as well.
Interview with Vito Trabucco (HD, 12 Mins.) - The director talks about working on the film, casting the actors, and some of the technical aspects of the film.
Interview with Christopher Maltauro (HD, 12 Mins.) - The writer/producer talks about his grandfather who directed a ton of old horror films, and working on this film and the influences that made it here. Oddly, this is a poorly edited extra that ends in mid-sentence.
Interview with Jessica Sonneborn (HD, 8 Mins.) - The actress talks about her character, preparing for the role, and her past films.
For Maggie (HD, 7 Mins.) - The cast and crew share their memories of their deceased friend and makeup artist Maggie Dillon.
Theatrical Trailer (HD, 2 Mins.) - Trailer for the film.
Photo Gallery (HD, 5 Mins.) - A slideshow of photos from the film and production set to the score and dialogue.
'Never Open the Door' has a great premise and start, but quickly loses steam, slows to a crawl, and never makes any sense. All of this happens in a 64 minute run time. The video and audio presentations are not the greatest and the extras aren't very informative or fun. Plus the extras are poorly edited and end abruptly. At the time of this writing, this Blu-ray is $25, which is sincerely a joke. Avoid this, even if the price drops below $10.