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The Devil's Doorway (2018) - Movie Review

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The Devil's Doorway (2018) - Movie Review

4 starsJumpin’ Jesus on a pogo stick!  The Devil’s Doorway, released by IFC Midnight, is all sorts of intense.

If Satan made 16mm home movies in 1960, then this 76-minute flick is probably what it would look like.   The Devil’s Doorway is disturbing as it tells the story of two priests who uncover a whole lot of Hell on earth after being mysteriously summoned to investigate the science and faith behind a statue that is crying blood.  It turns out that it is not the only thing crying out for help in this convent. 

Google Ireland's Magdalene Laundries.  Go ahead, I will wait for you.  Back?  Okay, that’s some downright disturbing information, right?  Well, that’s the territory of this tale of twisted supernatural possession: asylums for unmarried and pregnant women.  Some may be insane.  Some may merely be unlucky.  Most are there for good.  But what becomes of the children born from these wayward women?  We are about to find out thanks to The Devil’s Doorway

"Fans of found footage films will be mightily rewarded with this satanic tale and its use of space."

When statues of the Virgin Mary begin to weep blood in one convent, the Vatican leaps into action and sends Father Thomas Riley (Lalor Roddy) and Father John Thornton (Ciaran Flynn), but they are met with a very unfriendly Mother Superior (Helena Bereen).  She says the team has been misled; nothing like that is happening at her church-run home for women.  After a few nights, they begin to believe her…but Thorton can’t deny there seems to be a presence tailing them and then he sees what he has been feeling and hearing.

The atmosphere is already ripe with fear and betrayal in this found-footage flick.  Shadows loom.  Floors creak.  But it is what lies below the surface that these two investigators need fear the most. 

Mystery is everywhere in this spooky tale where women, guilty of sex outside of marriage or rape or whatnot, are held as slaves.  Yes, slaves.  Add a twist of unexpected possession to the mystery and, damn, this found footage film – via a 16mm camera – unexpectedly springs to life.  There are elements of The Exorcist (obviously), but there are enough twists to keep this one from losing its footing.

Directed by Aislinn Clarke and starring a wonderfully rich Roddy as the doubting Father Thomas, this is a horror movie that is as strong in its chills as it is brief in its execution.  There’s not a lot of fat on the bone here.  It works.  And what it confesses feels harrowingly real.  Thomas is having a crisis of faith.  What he sees at the hand of these nuns will set him back even further into the void and, damn, if it doesn’t already know his name. 

Fans of found footage films will be mightily rewarded with this satanic tale and its use of space (WATCH THE BACKGROUNDS!).  While it might be a bit odd to experience the crackle and pop and flash from a 16mm camera, I found it quite interesting.  The 16mm is being utilized in the same way a smartphone might be in any other horror film, the point is that, due to Ryan Kernaghan’s skills behind the camera, the documenting of the unnatural events comes across in very interesting ways.

The Devil's Doorway (2018) - Movie Review

Thanks to a solid sound field (in which a crying child becomes a major auditory haunt), the screenplay – written by Martin Brennan, Aislinn Clarke, Michael B. Jackson – absolutely works.  We get important conversations relayed to us via reel to reel machines, a creepy nun telling us all is fine, and a bunch of disturbing images thanks to child (who may or may not be there) and her toy clown.  If that image alone doesn’t spook you, then it might be best to steer clear of The Devil’s Doorway.

The thing that goes bump in the night might very well be you.  The Devil’s Doorway is an IFC Midnight release.  It is now playing in select cities and is available through digital platforms.

The Devil's Doorway (2018) - Movie Review

MPAA Rating: Unrated.
76 mins
: Aislinn Clarke
Martin Brennan, Aislinn Clarke
Lalor Roddy, Ciaran Flynn, Helena Bereen
: Horror
A chilling blend of American Graffiti and Psycho.
Memorable Movie Quote: "This Is Not Found Footage. It Has Been Supressed by the Catholic Church for the Last 58 Years."
Theatrical Distributor:
IFC Midnight
Official Site:
Release Date:
July 13, 2018
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
October, 2018
Synopsis: 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.

The Devil's Doorway (2018) - Movie Review


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The Devil's Doorway (2018) - Movie Review

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