‘One night every year, there will be…’
Evil at the Door is a 2021 American thriller film about one night every year when the world sees a scary surge in violent home invasions. This is no coincidence.
Written and directed by Kipp Tribble (The Stay; Lobo; Char Man; Coffin and Coffin 2), the MRP Entertainment-Trick 6 Films production stars Bruce Davison (We Still Say Grace; Itsy Bitsy; Along Came the Devil; Willard), John James, Scott Hamm (The Stay; Coffin 2) and Robert Allen Mukes.
The Locusts are a secret guild that has operated for nearly a century. Once a year this guild treats its members to a night of curated home invasions (aka, “runs”), known underground as “The Night of The Locusts”. And that night is this very evening…
Tensions are running high between Daniel and Jessica. Daniel has found himself in hot water at work with both his boss and investigators breathing down his neck. And now Jessica’s little sister, Liz, has shown up unannounced while on the run from her abusive boyfriend. While the feuding parties go to opposite areas of the house, everyone’s worst nightmare is forming in the backyard: four masked men have arrived for their “Night of the Locusts”. The Locusts’ clock has started, and they have 180 minutes in which to have their ‘fun’.
As Jessica locks herself in the bathroom for a bubble bath, Liz lounges on the bed. Unbeknownst to both, Daniel has already been overtaken downstairs and is now bound and gagged. Just as The Locusts make their way upstairs, Liz catches sight of them and attempts to warn Jessica – but to no avail. With nowhere to go, Liz takes shelter under the bed just as the masked men enter the room.
There, they quietly unmask themselves, revealing their identities for the night: Kennedy, Truman, Eisenhower, and Nixon. As the four men indulge in sick games with Daniel and Jessica, Liz can only stay hidden under the bed. Thus begins a unique game of cat and mouse, where the cat does not even know the other mouse exists.
While the run winds down, Liz plots her escape as The Locusts realize there is a traitor in their group. But will the division amongst the intruders be enough distraction for Liz to survive before The Locusts clock runs out?”
“I have always been intrigued by the “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” choices a person can be presented. And that is how “Evil at the Door” was born, from just a simple scenario: What if you couldn’t warn someone of the danger waiting for them, because it would mean putting yourself up against certain death?
I had been kicking this scenario around for a while, but it was only an idea for one scene, framed by a home invasion. Then when Executive Producer Richard Siegelman approached me in early 2020 about funding my next film, I pitched him the idea and he loved it. So I set about crafting a story around just this single scene.
From the start, I knew the film needed to take place primarily in one location, considering we were working with a smaller budget and would have only four days to film the entire movie. Plus we would be dealing with the new Covid protocols on set, which lead to a tighter schedule with less cast and crew in order to take as many precautions as necessary. So with those guidelines/restrictions in place, the story began to take shape.
Very early on, The Locusts were created – this secret guild of guys from all walks of life who pay annual dues in exchange for a “curated home invasion” to participate in one night every year. When actor/producer Kenny Yates came on board, we spent a great deal of time developing the backstory of The Locusts, their history, the rules of the guild, etc. Even now with the film finished, we continue to expand on the “universe” of this guild and its members and have been discussing future films about The Locusts. But that’s another story…
Being an actor myself, I always want to make sure that each character is properly fleshed out and not one dimensional, which is an easy trap to fall into on a genre film like this. So casting becomes very, very important. However, it was even more crucial to find the right actors for this film because we were taking a different approach with the dialogue in that about 60% of it is improvised. Every character has either a story that they tell in the film or a moment where their character shares something personal.
I wanted to experiment here and let each actor make that moment their own by creating their own dialogue within that scene. So they were given an outline and beats to hit in their scenes, then I let them play. It really gave the actors ownership of the moment and worked wonderfully.
Even though we were filming at an incredibly fast pace, we spent a good amount of time in preproduction discussing the slow burn ‘unfolding’ that we wanted the film to have. Kenny (who also served as Director of Photography, among his many other hats) was fantastic in having the camera team capture that feel throughout, while still maintaining a fast work pace.
And during post-production, we were careful to preserve that deliberate pacing, and the slow burn is supported beautifully by our composer, Wesley Hughes. I cannot say enough about our small but mighty team!”
Cast and characters:
Bruce Davison … John Doe
John James … Roebuck
Scott Hamm … Eisenhower
Robert Allen Mukes … The Cleaner
Sunny Doench … Jessica
Kenny Yates … Nixon
Kipp Tribble … Truman
Matt O’Neill … Daniel
Richard Siegelman … Kennedy
Andrea Sweeney Blanco … Liz
Robert Felsted Jr. … Isaac
Woodland Hills, California
Initial source: Daily Dead