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Someone’s Knocking at the Door (2009)
I’m not sure how to describe this one. The plot is pretty straight forward but for some reason I’m having a hell of a hard time synopsising it. Here is what IMDB has to say:
“In this genre-defying grind-house throwback, a group of drug-addled, sexually deviant medical students are systematically terrorized by Wilma and John Hopper. The Hoppers, serial murderers and rapists, mysteriously return from the 1970s, and bring horrifying psychedelia with them. With comedy, subversion, satire and true gore, the students must face escalating attacks, shocking circumstances and visceral disgust.”
OK, so that doesn’t really tell us a lot. The movie takes place in present day and focuses on a group of medical students… who I didn’t find to be that sexual deviant-y, but what do I know? One night, hanging out in a basement file room at the hospital, they all take a mysterious drug that Justin (Noah Segan) has found a vial of – well, all except for Meg (Andrea Rueda) who doesn’t use illegal drugs. The possible side effects include an increase in sexual appetite, anxiety, hallucinations, coma and death. After they shoot up, Justin regales them with the story of John and Wilma Hopper (Ezra Buzzington and Elina Madison) who were patients at the hospital back in the 70s. These two I would call sexual deviants. They were totally bonkers and enjoyed raping their victims to death. When Ray (Jordan Lawson) later turns up dead – raped to death by someone possessing a fifteen inch member – it seems that the Hoppers may be back. Think Jacob’s Ladder with a little Session 9, Twin Peaks and Suspiria thrown in.
There are some truly frightening moments – and quite a bit of humor. Someone’s Knocking at the Door shares a kinship with Frank Henenlotter’s films and reminded me a lot of Bad Biology. The performances aren’t anything super spectacular but for the most part are believable, with Noah Segan (who looks like a cross between Michael Chabon and Stephen Malkmus) the real standout. The script is spotty and doesn’t spend a lot of time developing the personalities of the characters – they’re drawn in pretty broad strokes but as the film goes on and we spend more time with them, they really come into their own. This was done on a low budget but the production values are high and the photography is especially impressive – very crisp and professional. The sound design and musical cues are particularly notable – I loved the totally non-horror movie music that plays during the chase scenes. And I really appreciated the scene in which Meg is running down a hallway and continually falls as her attacker closes in. The reason she can’t stay on her feet? The floor has just been mopped. I give the film some major kudos for going a different route than most recent horror and not giving us just another torture porn – but actually attempting to fashion something unique and colorful that tweaks the formula. There are hints here of visionary filmmaking and I’m especially interested to see what the director, Chad Ferrin, will come up with in the future. There have been complaints about the ending, but it worked for me. Sure, it isn’t insanely original but it is pulled off nicely and I think a different attempt to explain the events would have felt false. It is all ridiculously sleazy – in the best possible way.
The opening credit montage gives this an almost after school special feel (albeit one on crack) and to some degree it kind of is. But you’d never see death by deep throat in any of those. B