RIGHT AT YOUR DOOR
Letís hope this bleak and alarming film, about
terrorists who cripple L.A. by detonating ďdirty bombs,Ē is far-fetched
scaremongering--because if not then weíd best head for the fallout shelters
YOUR DOOR, completed in 2006 and commercially released by Lionsgate a year
later, joins David Koeppís TRIGGER EFFECT (1996) as an effective small scale
look at wide-spread disaster. With skilled performers like Rory Cochran (DAZED
AND CONFUSED) and Mary McCormack (IN PLAIN SIGHT) headlining, it canít help but
The writer/director Chris Gorak made his debut with
this film, coming off years of work as an art director for the likes of Steven
Spielberg, David Fincher,
Terry Gilliam and the
Gorak clearly picked up a lot from those guys, as evinced by his extremely
skilled work on RIGHT AT YOUR DOOR.
Brad is an
unemployed musician living with his office worker wife Lexi in the Echo Park
section of Los Angeles. On this particular morning Lexi leaves for work and,
seconds later, the radio begins airing reports about dirty bombs set off
throughout the city. Not that Brad needs this info, as he only has to look out
his living room window to see clouds of toxic smoke darkening the air.
His first impulse is to chase Lexi down. However, cops have already closed
off all the streets in Bradís neighborhood, and order him to turn around and
seal himself in his house. This he does, but makes a stop at a hardware store
thatís in the process of being looted to grab some duct tape.
Back home he finds Alvaro the cable man inside, and the two work to seal up
the house. But then the first of many surprises occurs when Lexi unexpectedly
turns up. Brad and Alvaro decline to let her in, as the toxic fumes clogging
the air will surely kill them. She responds by tossing a brick through a
window, which Brad and Alvaro quickly seal up.
Before long Alvaro takes off in search of his own family, leaving Brad
alone in the house with his wife outside. At night some guys in radiation suits
show up and take away the brick Lexi tossed through the window. More time
passes before the men return--and this time their intentions are far deadlier.
prickly, tension filled drama RIGHT AT YOUR DOOR is virtually unassailable.
Chris Gorak conjures a sense of disquiet and unease in the opening minutes that
intensifies in Bradís hair-raising drive through his neighborhood, with police
blocking off seemingly every corner. Itís the filmís only pure action sequence,
and its chilly aftereffects linger throughout.
Much of the filmís final two thirds consist of a stagy marital psychodrama
between two never-better actors. The small scale was due to Gorakís limited
budget, which didnít provide him with the resources to dramatize the full or
even partial scale of the terrorist attacks. Yet the confined setting presents
us with an appropriately claustrophobic interior space whose forbidding aura is
enhanced by dark, murky visuals. Thereís no political sloganeering of any sort;
the identities of the terrorists are left obscure, as are their motives. Like
most of us, the filmís protagonists are left to fend for themselves in an
atmosphere of ever-present danger and unanswered questions.
Be advised that the narrative arc is stunningly grim.
I couldnít help but wonder throughout why it never occurred to Brad to take his
chances on the outside, which in light of what eventually happens would have
been an excellent idea!
RIGHT AT YOUR DOOR
Director: Chris Gorak
Producers: Jonah Smith, Palmer West
Screenplay: Chris Gorak
Cinematography: Tom Richmond
Editing: Jeffrey M. Werner
Cast: Mary McCormack, Rory Cochrane, Tony Perez, Scotty Noyd Jr, Max Kasch, Jon
Huertas, Will McCormack, Hector Luis Bustamante