Bottled water, canned food, flashlight and a radio make for a great survival kit for natural disasters but what if Los Angeles were covered in a snowflake-like substance as a result of a dirty bomb attack? And what would you do if your significant other was ever so close but decidedly out of reach? These are the sort of questions that get asked during Chris Gorakâ€™s directorial low budget thriller debut and not surprisingly this taps into some of the paralysis that folks in the city of New York endured back in 2001.
Filmed in a DIY style, Right at your Door begins with a good-morning wake up kiss, breakfast and salutations for a nice day at work followed by high anxiety, chaos and fear multiplied by one thousand. Gorakâ€™s screenplay provides a 9/11 commentary on global terror nightmare scenarios might affect the individual. Hungry for news from his wife, Rory Cochrane plays the desperate boyfriend who finds 100 uses for duck tape and makes the unenviable choice of barricading himself – once his wife played by Mary McCormack comes into the picture a little late in the game, what separates the two sort of what occurred when E.T was quarantined bubble boy style from his friends.
Having worked with Fincher and Spielberg, Gorak knows a thing or two about making the most out of his locations â€“ here he maximizes the use of a couple of blocks around a neighborhood. Such as some of the ideas touched upon in Danny Boyleâ€™s 28 Days Later, Gorak is less interested in bio chemical facts and is more concerned with unleashing primal fears, panic that reach far beyond that of a catastrophic. When does oneâ€™s individual life become more precious or valuable than a loved oneâ€™s?
Aesthetically equivalent to the experience of a film such as Open Water, with an introductory tight pacing, multiple handheld 16mm camera shots and creative use of lighting and sound effects, Gorak passionately takes viewers on a thrilling ride riddled in anxiety until the midway mark where the action is replaced by ethical and moral dilemmas. This places the viewer within the context of the apocalypse â€“ and though it may be a hard sell for the distributor who picks it up for release it is sure to find some kind of following. This is surely not the last we will hear from this art director turned filmmaker.
Reviewed at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival on January 25th.