Review by Camden Ferrell
Doors is a science fiction film from directors Jeff Desom, Saman Kesh, and Dugan O’Neal. It is a movie that explores mysterious concepts and tackle the question of our existence in the universe. While it’s a very interesting movie in concept, the movie fails to truly develop any of its segments into something meaningful.
Millions of “doors” start to appear all over the Earth. They are mysterious and clearly not of our world. Many who have had contact with the doors disappear, so people must learn about the nature of these doors. The movie is told in various segments. One follows a group of high schoolers who discover a door, another follows a group of volunteers who venture into a door, and one follows a man trying to establish contact with a door.
The segments all have very interesting concepts that benefit from its mystery. However, the movie is just far too short to properly flesh out any of these individual stories. We never really learn the true nature of the doors. This is somewhat intentional, but it fails to invest us into these entities, and it doesn’t say much about our existence and the presence of other sentient life.
The acting is fairly decent throughout. Rory Anne Dahl, Julianne Collins, Aric Floyd, and Kathy Khanh play the high schoolers and even though their chemistry isn’t entirely there, they each give some adequate performances in their segment. However, the best performance comes from Josh Peck. His demeanor is somewhat flawed, but he is able to inject the film with some energy and personality.
Out of all the segments, the high school segment, titled Lockdown, is the strongest. Directed by Jeff Desom, this is the most tense and well-executed part of the film. It builds off of the mystery and uncertainty of what’s going on in the world, and it frames it through the eyes of children, locked in a school while all hell is breaking loose. It’s not perfect, but it has some very strong aspects working in its favor.
The film is under 90 minutes, so every segment ends before anything of substance can occur. For example, the Knockers story with Josh Peck could have warranted another thirty minutes, but it ends before it can explore any meaningful themes of the film. Similar things can be said of the rest of the film. It’s a few pushes away from being a great film. It had the premise and the set pieces, but it sold itself short on its own narrative.
It’s a heavily flawed film that feels inconsistent due to the various directors, but there are still some commendable aspects. The cinematography in the Knockers segment and Lamaj segment is fantastic. Starr Whitesides worked on the Knockers segment which utilizes light and space in a very compelling way. Todd Banhazi worked on the Lamaj segment that used a dull palate to frame its subjects and still tell an interesting visual story.
Doors is incredibly imperfect and works better as a group of ideas rather than a feature length film. It suffers from some tonal inconsistencies and an underdeveloped story. It has some redeeming qualities, but not enough to compensate for its squandered potential.
Doors is in select theaters March 19 and on VOD March 23.