Written by: Chad Ferrin, Roham Ghodsi, and Rosie Roberts
Directed by: Chad Ferrin
Starring: Ezra Buzzington, Noah Segan, and Andrea Rueda
Reviewed by: Brett G.
ĒIím gonna fuck youÖuntil you die!"
Itís pretty well known by now that having sex in horror movies is the equivalent of punching your ticket towards death; however itís a bit more rare to see death via the act of sex itself. Sure, every now and then, someone like Malabimba drops in and gives new meaning to the phrase ďgimme head until Iím dead,Ē but such classy types are few and far between. Vicious Circle Filmís latest offering from the world of independent horror, Someoneís Knocking at the Door, offers deadly sex as its subject. Essentially a film about a bunch of drug-addled med students being stalked by demon rapists, does the film actually live up to its grandiose vision of throwback, grindhouse sleaze?
The film opens with one of our aforementioned medical students, Ray, shooting up in his dorm room. Heís interrupted by a mysterious knocking at his door. Upon answering, Ray finds a completely nude co-ed standing in his doorway, and she makes her intentions clear: she wants him, badly. Unfortunately, this is no co-ed at all, as she soon shows her true form: that of a demon that then proceeds to rape Ray to death! This leaves the rest of his med-school friends to cope with his death; however, their history of drug use and sordid behavior also puts them in the sights of the detectives working the case. After being interrogated, one of Rayís friends, Justin, reveals that they spent their last night together shooting up a highly experimental drug while researching the case of John and Wilma Hopper, a tandem of maniacs who enjoyed raping their victims to death. Did Justin and crew somehow raise the spirits of these two from the dead? Given the size of the phallis that tore through poor Rayís colon, Iíd say something has definitely been aroused.
This film is just as bizarre and schlocky as you can imagine. If the demonic form of John Hopper isnít orally or anally raping his victims to death, then Wilmaís devouring them with her vagina (literally). Itís an interesting premise to say the least, and could have made for an interesting film if more use had been made of it. Instead, the film starts out with a bang (pun intended), but limps on for the next half hour or so as we follow the lives of these drug-addled college kids who arenít very likeable or interesting. Andrea Rueda is the most believable and likeable as Meg, who ends up being the only one with many redeeming qualities. Ricardo Grayís character Spaz earns some cheap sympathy due to his constant stuttering, but, for the most part, the drama here between these kids isnít enough to carry the film. Once the film provides us any semblance of an explanation for the events thus far, the kids have pretty much worn out their welcome.
Of course, most of the filmís second half is concerned with killing them off in various gruesome methods, with most of them making use of a phallic object of some sort. Iím sure Freud would have a field day with this one. While not as graphic as you might expect, Someoneís Knocking at the Door does pack a visceral punch at times. Plus, the primary antagonists committing the deeds, John Hopper, is genuinely creepy at times, with Ezra Buzzington infusing a bit of a Hannibal Lecter quality in the character. These are a couple of things the film certainly gets right, along with the generally high production values as a whole. Though the film feels unnecessarily tightly cropped at times despite the use of scope, this looks a bit more polished than most independent features out there. The presence of some somewhat familiar names and faces also lends a bit of credibility to the production: thereís Troma vet Trent Haaga, Day of the Deadís Joe Pilato, and even Vernon ďBennettĒ Wells of Commando fame.
Unfortunately, for all its visual competence, the script really falters. Ultimately, the film feels more like a collection scenes rather than an entirely cohesive narrative. The film also struggles to maintain a consistent tone. While there have no doubt been several horror films to effectively mix horror and comedy, this one oscillates between the two too often. There are times when the film is played straight and serious, and there are other times when the film embraces its absurd premise. For every creepy scene with Buzzingtonís Hopper, thereís a scene where a possessed, nude, and corpulent detective with an oversized schlong chases a girl with the intentions of raping her. The musical choices during some of the more horrific scenes are also distracting and quite incongruent with the visuals. The film does take a crack at ending on a serious note, but itís an ending thatís been done before and with greater effectiveness. Here, it seems to render the entire film moot and creates no new points with its use.
In short, itís an ending that attempts to cast a new light on all the events you think youíve just witnessed, but it doesnít. Sometimes, sexually-deviant demon rapists are more than enough to carry a film, and this one makes the mistake of trying a bit too hard. At any rate, this is another one of those quick and dirty horror affairs that does manage to stay just interesting enough during the second half. At 80 minutes long, itís a bit easier to swallow than our antagonistís oversized penis, provided you can make it through the first half hour. If you want to give this one a shot, Vicious Circle and Breaking Glass Pictures will be bringing it to DVD on May 25th. The screener copy I was provided boasted an excellent widescreen transfer, and the already decent 2.0 soundtrack will likely be outdone by the 5.1 track on the final release. The DVD promises a wealth of special features as well, including an audio commentaries with Chad Ferrin, Noah Segan, and Timothy Muskatell, a 40 minute making-of documentary, deleted scenes, poster artwork, a short film, a music video, and trailers. With just enough gruesome bits and a grindhouse-esque premise to satisfy the morbidly curious, this one is worthy of a knock at the door at your local rental establishment. Rent it!
For more information, please visit the Breaking Glass website.
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