Sci-fi anthology Doors presents lofty ideas and strange visuals that carry over into disconnected storylines. The only throughline is the mysterious doors of the title, teasing involvement of an alien presence. The concept is exciting and mysterious. The stories fail the premise a bit, with the only one I found truly worthwhile being the middle segment. Different directors bring a varied flare to the movie, in spite of a restricted budget that shows its cracks from time to time. Visuals are muted by this budget as well, and the acting is hit or miss depending on the segment.
When mysterious doors sprout up all over the globe, no one knows quite how to react. Doors takes us on three harrowing journeys that vary in quality, with a traditional wraparound segment prevalent in most anthologies strangely absent. The first story, which features a group of kids in detention as the doors appear on Earth, is very Breakfast Club, but lacks a single character for the audience to care about. The second tale, which takes place 15 days after the doors arrive on Earth, sees a dispatch of research units to study the doors. They’re allowed only 12 minutes inside before “door psychosis” settles in, and nothing from the other side of the door is allowed in or out. For me, this was by far the most interesting part of the film and one I wish had simply been expanded to full length. Strange, eerie visuals reign supreme, and we actually get to see people go inside the doors. The third story is the worst of the bunch. A sheltered hermit figures out a way to communicate with a door. This last story doesn’t contribute anything substantial to the premise, whereas the other two seemed to move the action forward in a significant way. After the highs of the previous segment, this one is a let down. The follow-up to this final entry is fast-paced and exciting. It left me wanting more from this odd world.
Your milage may vary on each of the three stories; each has their own set of strengths and weaknesses. The middle one—titled “Knockers”—could’ve been a movie all its own. Communication with, and exploration of, the doors reminded me of cerebral sci-fi like Annihilation and Arrival. Despite the budgetary restrictions and two out of three portions feeling lackluster, I still had some fun with this highly original anthology film. Doors comes knocking in limited theaters March 19th, and On Demand March 23rd, with a DVD/Blu-ray release date following on April 6th.