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Matthew R. Anderson,
After Lexi leaves home to visit Central LA, there's a terrorist attack involving chemical bombs. After the attack, her musician husband, Brad, fails to find her and reluctantly seals himself inside his house. He will have to deal with this decision in the days to come. Written by
Can't manage to be the realistic and gripping emotional pressure cooker that the opening third suggests it could/should have been - average
When a series of dirty bombs are set off in Los Angeles the populace are told to stay indoors with windows and doors sealed. Brad's wife was in the area of the attacks though, so his priority is to get to her and make sure she is safe. With the authorities shutting down all the major roadways, Bard is forced to return home and start securing the house with the help of the labourer from next door, who has no way of getting to his own home. With only the radio for information, Brad waits for any news while, at the same time, an exposed Lexi tries to get back home.
This was a reasonably topical film at the time, perhaps not "hot on the heels" of 9th September 2001, but the fear of terrorist attacks on the West had not subsided five years later and indeed it is still a button that can be pushed as we saw even as recently as 2008's US election. As a result I did want to see this but just never got round to doing so until the other week, mainly because it never showed up much on video or television for some reason. The film opens with its strongest card the attacks, the initial panic, the initial fear and the initial moral questions. All of this is good and it does touch a nerve. The problem comes when the film has played that card and cannot get much more mileage from the emotions that many viewers will already have. This gives us a second half (or the remaining two-thirds to be honest) that doesn't work as well at all.
The plot brings characters in and out, has little things to fill the time and none of it ever convinces in the way the opening third did. It doesn't help that we don't really ever get into the characters so we don't feel a terrible lot for the people and indeed end up just questioning what they are doing and thinking mainly because they are not real to us so we don't accept what they are doing. It heads towards a conclusion that would work well on the Twilight Zone perhaps but here it just seems like a dramatic way to finish for the sake of having a dramatic finish rather than fitting with the characters and narrative than I had just spent 90 minutes on. The cast are not the blame because they do give solid turns particularly McCormack and Cochrane. OK the child (Noyd) is weak but in fairness so was his character.
Overall Right at Your Door opens well and the "pitch" concept is delivered upon pretty well. When it comes down to having another 60 minutes to fill after this though, it is not that good and it doesn't convince or engage as it should. A shame but as a total film it is average at best and instead of being part "realistic emotional drama" and part "Twilight Zone-esquire thriller" it would have been better shorter, simpler and filmed as a Twilight Zone episode.
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