The Devil's Doorway

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In horror cinema, the found-footage conceit has been employed to conceal mediocrity so routinely that such uninspired application is now the norm. 'The Devil’s Doorway' is a dispiritingly on-point example. Aislinn Clarke’s film dabbles in the tedious conventions of the demon-possession and haunted-house subgenres for its 1960s-set tale, and the feature’s faux-vintage formal affectations can’t compensate for a fatiguing sense of familiarity. As two Catholic priests (Lalor Roddy and Ciaran Flynn) investigate an alleged miracle at a Irish “Magdalene Laundry,” one could quickly fill in a bingo card of post-'Exorcist' tropes as Clarke’s feature goes through the fright-free motions of dribbling out allegedly sinister revelations. 'The Devil’s Doorway' squanders the potential of its unique, politically charged setting, preferring the tiresome theatrics of levitation, door-slamming, and creepy ghost-child giggling. Clarke’s occasional bursts of inspired low-fi camerawork – such as some legitimately unnerving tricks with framing and shallow focus – don’t make up for the film’s overall monotony and mustiness.