Right at Your Door
2006, R, 96 min. Directed by Chris Gorak. Starring Mary McCormack, Rory Cochrane, Tony Perez, Scotty Noyd Jr., Jon Huertas.
REVIEWED By Marc Savlov, Fri., Aug. 24, 2007
If nothing else, Right at Your Door will make you painfully aware of just how permeable your home, and by extension your entire life, really is. No amount of plastic sheeting and duct tape can salvage anything but the most meager and pathetic shreds of normalcy from catastrophic upheavals, as the young, hip Los Angeles couple Lexi (McCormack) and Brad (Cochrane) discover by degrees. Although unemployed musician Brad is safe at home when a quartet of dirty bombs wreak havoc during L.A.'s morning rush hour, Lexi is on her way to work; she's on the freeway, near a blast site, and unreachable by her spouse's increasingly frantic phone calls. After an aborted rescue attempt (during which he catches the chilling sight of biohazard-suited cops gunning down innocent, "infected" citizens), Brad hunkers down at home. With the help of the neighbor's handyman (Perez), Brad follows the emergency-broadcast procedures and seals up the couple's house. And then Lexi shows up, obviously contaminated, on the other side of Brad's makeshift airlock. What's a guy to do? "Harrowing" doesn't even begin to describe this low-budget exercise in siege paranoia, which cunningly riffs on everything from George Romero's Night of the Living Dead and The Crazies to our current terrorist-related night-sweats. Cochrane and McCormack are riveting as the film's everycouple faced with impossible choices on the worst day of their lives. With its manic, handheld camerawork and incessant, jittery pacing, Right at Your Door recalls the recent Cavite (which also deals with the grim, nail-biting aspects of terror on the human psyche), and it succeeds despite a bizarre, third-act plot twist that seems to have come straight from The Twilight Zone. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it does stretch viewer credulity to the near-breaking point. Still, this is frightening stuff, ably helmed (by writer/director Gorak, art director on the nerve janglers Fight Club and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas), viciously acted, and altogether horrific in ways George A. Romero could imagine only through the lens of the darkest sort of fantasy.