Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Right At Your Door (2006)
Right At Your Door is a taut apocalyptic thriller, one that brings a strong sense of realism through the panic and uncertainty which it portrays. In the end, its one of the best of its kind. And there are no happy endings here folks. Only gut wrenching heartbreak.
The film starts off with a husband and wife readying to start their workdays. She heads out the door to embark on her day but not before complaining about a cellphone which was left out the night before and has lost its charge. The husband continues to get ready. He's soon stopped dead in his tracks when a message is relayed over the radio of explosives being set off in downtown Los Angeles. Looking out his window, he sees a plume of smoke as the radio broadcaster starts churning out what little information he does have along with conveying the panic which has quickly enveloped the city.
Unable to reach his wife via her cellphone, the husband hops into his SUV and heads out in search of her. He doesn't get very far as he gets a flat tire and pulls into the local hardware store. Another announcement comes over the radio, stating that the bombs which were set off were highly chemical in nature and that folks should remain in their home and board off all doors and crevices which could expose you to the poisoned air.
Getting the necessary supplies, he heads back home as people are blocked off from getting any further than the end of the suburban neighborhood and police officers are already attempting to quarantine those believed to have inhaled the toxic ash. Once inside, he finds a neighbor's landscaper who's broken in and he begs him to let him stay. Hesitantly, he relents and then quickly, both men begin work on boarding up and sealing off the home.
As they sit and wait, tension mounts between the both of them as they each try to get a hold of their respective spouses. The phone lines are tied up and not much information over the radio is given other than hordes of panic stricken people are showing up at hospitals and police stations. This continual sense of fear and uncertainty is drilled effectively into the viewer's mind throughout the film.
The true test of both men comes when the homeowner's wife comes knocking on the front door and a gut wrenching decision must be made. After much argument, the man decides to keep his beloved wife outside. Their tense exchanges reveal past wounds in the relationship and that maybe something else going on which leads us to believe that this is anything but the happy couple that they present themselves to be. Overall, the film poses to us some questions: in a world of uncertainty and fear, what would you do in the interest of self-preservation? Help the one you love and take a chance that something might happen to you or leave them to suffer, both actions coming without a promise of help or rescue?
The film ends in an even more heartbreaking fashion which I won't reveal. Other than to say the husband's sensible strategy (I say sensible because most people in his position would do the exact same thing) for keeping everyone alive turns out to be the worst.
Right At Your Door should really get more attention and notoriety than it has. Many films have the same set-up and even execution but don't convey nowhere near half of the emotions that this film does. If you are a fan of these types of films, with a compelling and bare bones approach to story telling, then this excellent thriller is right up your alley.
Cortez the Killer