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EVIL AT THE DOOR (2021)
Directed and written by Kipp Tribble.
Starring Andrea Sweeney Blanco, Sunny Doench, Matt O’Neill, Scott Hamm, Kipp Tribble, Richard Siegelman, Kenny Yates, Robert Felsted Jr., John James, Robert Allen Mukes, Bruce Davison
When Liz (Andrea Sweeney Blanco) comes to stay with her sister Jessica (Sunny Doench) and her disapproving husband Daniel (Matt O’Neill), she has no idea they are the target of a home invasion group called the Locusts. As four dangerous men enter the house, Liz hides under the bed in fear of being targeted like the rest of the family.
Borrowing heavily from THE PURGE, Kipp Tribble’s EVIL AT THE DOOR does a decent job with singular location and a simple plot. The idea of a secret organization that hires a group of random killers to wipe out a house is an interesting one and deviates enough from the familiar PURGE motif to be unique. Given specific instructions to follow in order to ensure the continuation of the Locust organization, it’s dark but intriguing to watch this carefully laid play go sideways as they didn’t factor in the presence of Liz. I was truly impressed at how Kipp was able to maintain a level of suspense for the duration of the movie as the killers show much patience in waiting for the right time to strike.
I dug the quartet of killers. The three pros; played by Scott Hamm, Richard Siegelman, and writer/director Kipp Tribble, are all tough guys, but play their parts with distinction. I also liked the f’n new guy/loose cannon played by Kenny Yates. The back and forth between these cold hearted killers is well realized. To pass the time, the killers reminisce about previous, successful Locust jobs, tallied up with tattoos on their forearms. I feel it was during these segments that the film’s lack of budget set in. There are minute flashbacks to the previous slaughters, but I think the point would have been made had there been more carnage in these flashbacks. Most likely, it wasn’t in the budget, but the dialog alone attempts to be Tarantino-ian diatribes but lack the unique spin to work.
There are also a few subplots that really fail to be resolved. It appears Liz might know one of the killers, but this never really comes to a satisfying resolution. I also think it is a missed opportunity to not give Daniel, who is disapproving of Liz’s visit because of her history with drugs, a later scene where he gets to say I told you so. It really feels like there’s a third act that was minced out of the script due to time and money, leaving these plot thread unattended to.
I don’t want to oversell EVIL AT THE DOOR. It’s a low budget home invasion flick with a PURGE twist. It’s low on blood and true carnage, but the acting is better than average, and you get a cameo by WILLIARD’s Bruce Davison at the Locust leader, so that’s pretty keen. The film had some solid character-work and I was impressed at how filmmaker Tribble made this simple plot filed with cold-blooded tension.