The Devil’s Doorway is an Irish horror movie that managed to hit its marks without becoming stereotypical. Also, this is found footage done right!
The Devil’s Doorway could serve as an off-beat kind of prequel to the upcoming The Nun. Of course, that particular movie is part of James Wan’s brilliant The Conjuring universe. This Irish movie is very much its own. Which is a good thing!
And yes, The Devil’s Doorway is found footage, but don’t worry if you don’t like this subgenre. This is definitely one of the better I’ve seen. Also, it’s made to look like it was shot in the 1960s which is when the story takes place.
More than just having the right look, the story also features dialogue and behaviour that matches this time period.
Watch the trailer for The Devil’s Doorway right here or continue reading our review below.
Divine or from the Devil?
As it’s always the case with religion, small things can quickly be attributed to something divine. Or, of course, the work of the devil. The story of The Devil’s Doorway begins when a statue starts shedding tears of blood.
Father Thomas Riley (Lalor Roddy) and Father John Thornton (Ciaran Flynn) are sent by the Vatican to investigate this “miracle”. The older Father Thomas is rather skeptic while the younger Father John hopes to confirm the miracle.
Both characters are believable and offer two viewpoints. One of them has already been out to confirm these miracles but still hasn’t seen a real one. The other is still naive enough to believe everything that looks miraculous must be.
The statue is located at an Irish home for “fallen women”, which is the real horror story to me. The same goes for Father Thomas who goes head to head with the Mother Superior. Of course, she’s not one to fear much of anything.
The Fallen Women
While this is a home for so-called “fallen women”, this is mostly code for pregnant unmarried girls. This means children are born and often remain here for some time. Years even.
However, as the two priests arrive from the Vatican, no children are anywhere to be seen. Not during the daytime anyway. The younger Father John can’t seem to find much peace during the nights and both priests end up searching the place further.
It turns out there’s a special place for the more difficult or mentally challenged (which could just mean “stubborn”) women. Once the two Fathers find this place, the real story takes place. And the focus is no longer just the one statue of the Virgin Mary weeping blood.
Suffice it to say that while I can sometimes be scared easily, I don’t think I’ve jumped in my seat quite as much as I did during The Devil’s Doorway.
Keep your eyes on Aislinn Clarke
The Devil’s Doorway was directed and co-written by Aislinn Clarke. This is actually her feature film debut and a damn strong one at that. She’s done three short films as a director (two of them also as a writer), but this little perfectly stylized horror film is her feature debut.
I’ll be very interested to see what she comes up with next. So far, all her projects have been in genre films, so I’m sure we’ll be excited to watch her next project as well. She’s definitely one of the most interesting Irish filmmakers right now!
And no, it’s not that this movie is without faults. It’s just that I can easily live with those since they take nothing away from the overall experience. Also, the story is both important as a social comment and damn entertaining as horror entertainment. I mean, what more could you wish for?
If you already have a fear of nuns and the Catholic church (or religion in general), then this will probably work extra well for you. I don’t personally have that fear and still found myself caught up in it from the first scene.
The Devil’s Doorway will be out in movie theaters and on VOD from July 13, 2018.
Yes, on Friday the 13th and it’s via IFC Midnight, which tends to be a sure bet in genre films.
Director: Aislinn Clarke
Writers: Martin Brennan, Aislinn Clarke, Michael B. Jackson
Cast: Lalor Roddy, Ciaran Flynn, Helena Bereen, Lauren Coe
What unholy terrors lurk behind the walls of a secretive Irish convent? Northern Ireland, 1960: Father Thomas Riley (Lalor Roddy) and Father John Thornton (Ciaran Flynn) are dispatched by the Vatican to investigate reports of a miracle—a statue of the Virgin Mary weeping blood—at a remote Catholic asylum for “immoral” women. Armed with 16mm film cameras to record their findings, the priests instead discover a depraved horror show of sadistic nuns, satanism, and demonic possession. Supernatural forces are at work here—but they are not the doing of God. Inspired by the infamous true histories of Magdalene Laundries—in which “fallen women” were held captive by the Irish Catholic Church—this found footage occult shocker is a chilling encounter with unspeakable evil.