‘Some doors should never be opened’
The Devil’s Doorway is a 2018 British found footage paranormal horror feature film directed by Aislinn Clarke (short: Childer) from a screenplay co-written with Martin Brennan and Michael B. Jackson. Lalor Roddy, Ciaran Flynn and Helena Bereen.
In October 1960, Father Thomas Riley and Father John Thornton are sent by the Vatican to investigate a statue of the Virgin Mary weeping blood in a rural Irish convent, a ‘Magdalene laundry’ that serves as a religious asylum for prostitutes, the mentally disabled, and unmarried pregnant women. In hopes of capturing photographic evidence of this apparent miracle, Father Thornton films their inquiry with a portable 16mm camera.
Northern Ireland, October 1960: Father Thomas Riley (Lalor Roddy) and Father John Thornton (Ciaran Flynn) are dispatched by the Vatican to investigate reports of a miracle – a statue of the Virgin Mary apparently weeping blood – at a remote Catholic asylum for “immoral” womenthat serves as a religious asylum for prostitutes, the mentally disabled, and unmarried pregnant women.
Armed with 16mm film cameras to record their findings, the priests instead discover a depraved horror show of sadistic nuns, satanism, and demonic possession. Supernatural forces are at work here—but they are not the doing of God.
However, the resident Mother Superior denies knowledge of any supernatural phenomenon. In addition, her impious views toward her wards, and the nuns cruel treatment of them, shock both priests.
When the priests finally gather indisputable evidence of a potential miracle, it leads to an exhaustive search of the convent’s grounds, where they discover Kathleen O’Brien, a sixteen year-old pregnant girl exhibiting signs of demonic possession, leading the priests to question whether the omens witnessed have been the work of God or Satan…
Inspired by the infamous true histories of Magdalene Laundries – in which “fallen women” were held captive by the Irish Catholic Church and aborted babies created by apparent acts of sin were secretly buried – this found footage occult shocker is a chilling encounter with unspeakable evil.
Buy Blu-ray: Amazon.com
In the UK, Miracle Media is releasing The Devil’s Doorway on DVD on 31 March 2019. Buy in advance from Amazon.co.uk
“It would be unfair to call The Devil’s Doorway a bad movie. The movie looks good and is bolstered by the strong performance of Roddy. Regrettably, it also fills its thin story with too many ideas and ends up boring the audience more than scaring them.” Nathaniel Muir, Adventures in Poor Taste
” ….a measured piece of cinema you can engage with through what Clarke chooses to share with the audience. She soundly critiques the real world horrors of the Catholic Church malpractices while simultaneously telling a dramatic and scary tale. The revelations of Riley’s own orphaned past bring to a head a fatal sense that what he is unearthing at this moment in his life is a meeting with his own destiny…” Stuart Wright, Britflicks
” …somehow its individual elements possess such a standard of care that they meld together to create a uniquely enjoyable, entirely haunting experience. It is good! In fact, it is damn good and entirely creepy. The Catholic Church will probably hate it, which just seems like all the more reason to embrace The Devil’s Doorway.” Jeannie Blue, Cryptic Rock
“The Devil’s Doorway has half of a clever concept to work with, but never quite cuts it as a subgenre standout. The movie’s initial hint of sewing in commentary about Ireland’s troubled history with Magdalene Laundries evaporates early, replaced with a lot of the usual looking at dusty corridors in strobing darkness while creepy children’s chants echo.” Ian Sedensky, Culture Crypt
Buy DVD: Amazon.co.uk
“The deliberately rough-hewn footage looks suitably realistic and the sound and lighting effects provide a creepily hallucinatory effect. But all the well-crafted effort has unfortunately been expended on a tired and overly familiar story that never registers as anything more than a compendium of horror-film clichés.” Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter
“Wielding mostly 16-millimeter film, the director of photography, Ryan Kernaghan, mimics the home movies of the time with flickering ellipses and flares of dazzling, burned-out white. Some of his images, like one of sweating young women scrubbing sheets in a haze of boiling steam, are quite beautiful. Yet despite its brief running time, the movie feels dragged out; like the priests, it will eventually lose its way.” Jeanette Catsoulis, The New York Times
“The Devil’s Doorway takes the art of the hand-held camera to rushing extremes. While Ryan Kernahan’s lens is dashing up and down the same set of corridors with gusto, Clarke isn’t afraid to cut this sinister urgency with long shots of a tape recorder whirring, for example. She certainly knows not to outstay her welcome, and the film clips out at 73 minutes.” Fionnuala Halligan, Screen Daily
“In a genre that has seen so many iterations and overused tropes, it was important to find a way to give this found footage film a unique spin on how it delivers the goods. To help with this, Clarke uses 16mm film almost exclusively which was a perfect way to capture the 1960’s era aesthetic and adds its own level of creepiness to the story’s visual pallet.” Marc Morin, Two Oh Six
Cast and characters:
- Lalor Roddy … Father Thomas
- Ciaran Flynn … Father John
- Helena Bereen … Mother Superior
- Lauren Coe … Kathleen
The Devil’s Doorway was released in the USA by IFC Midnight on July 13, 2018.
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