tisdag 2 april 2013

The Black door (2001)

The Black door is a real curiosity, a truly fascinating mockumentary that is strangely split between being carefully staged and oddly amateurish. It starts with a young man, Steven, being brought into a hospital, screaming from the top of his lungs that everything has to be filmed. He is covered in large wounds that look like they were made with giant claws and soon after he is found to have been afflicted with some sort of unknown disease that is causing his internal organs to rapidly decay. From then on we move back in time with a documentary crew as they follow the young man researching the case of Balmaseda, a Mexican businessman who disappeared in the 1930:s, a case that leads him into discovering a satanic cult called The Black door and their actions that still has consequences until present day. An old film is found that shows Balmaseda being willingly sacrificed in a satanic rite and then some, it's best watched without knowing what happens beforehand. They discover that Steven was told by a surviving member of the cult that there are answers in an old house in the suburbs. Naturally, he goes there in the middle of the night, finding it to be the very same house where the sacrifice took place and then something happens.

I am truly flabbergasted by The Black door since it had such potential. For starters, all the old footage and photography of The Black door doing what they do best (sacrificing people to Satan) are so well staged and performed that the rest of the movie suffers a great deal from it. The present day actors go from overacting as if their life depended upon it or not being able to act at all, not even functioning properly as subjects of an fake interview. I can live with that but the filmmakers made on really bad decision that is even worse, and that is the soundtrack. Everything is drenched in melancholic or dramatic music to the point of it almost being risible, as if they didn't trust their material at all. To add even more insult, towards the end of the movie, when we have learned a bit more of what is causing all of this, we even hear a distorted growl of some sort of demon again and again in an attempt to add shock. It is frankly just stupid. I'm hoping that this was the decision of a producer that didn't consider the first version sellable but in the end it turns the movie into what could have been a superior mockumentary into one of the most flawed movies I have seen in years.

Ok, it sounds like telling you not to watch this movie but actually, that is far from the truth. The Black door, majorly flawed as it is, is still a great experience with a good, fascinating plot that slowly builds into a creepy climax with the high points being the black & white footage of the ritual (if the movie had been as good as this long scene, it would have gotten ten out of ten) and the simple, yet effective sequence when Steven explores the house by flashlight. The movie suffers a lot from being so idioticly overdramatic when it really should have been treated more somberly, it would have been a lot more efficient that way. If you like mockumentaries and Found footage movies, I will recommend this, just be prepared that the bad choices of the filmmakers might put you off.

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