Just because we can walk through something…it doesn’t mean that we should…
The Pale Door is rife with potential but it’s an ultimately disappointing and surprisingly cheap affair that borrows from far too many other films that have come before it to be anything genuinely memorable.
The Dalton gang finds shelter in a seemingly uninhabited ghost town after a train robbery goes south. Seeking help for their wounded leader, they are surprised to stumble upon a welcoming brothel in the town’s square. But the beautiful women who greet them are actually a coven of witches with very sinister plans for the unsuspecting outlaws…
Borrowing liberally from the horror and western genres, The Pale Door is a limp mash up of the two that tries to do too much with too small of a budget.
Co-Writer/Director Aaron B. Koontz crafts a passable affair here with a decent premise and an above average ensemble cast but it’s main failing is that it tries to do too much.
It looks cheap…and that’s never a good thing as the sets and backdrops are poorly assembled and visual effects of weather or violence are brought in overly tight close ups.
While we can appreciate the mash-up of genre that is going on, it’s almost a little too ambitious at times and it needed reigning in rather than trying to bleed every dollar of its budget dry with things that they just couldn’t pull off with any effectiveness.
The script is at least solid even though occasionally derivative at times. At least we’re always invested in the story, but you can’t help but feel like everyone involved was trying to do the director a favour as this all came down to simply needing more financing.
It’s the equivalent of serving someone a hamburger and telling them that it’s Kobe Beef…it just doesn’t work. There’s nothing wrong with hamburger meat, but don’t tell them it’s something different and given the level of the cast we get a film that feels like it should be more then it is.
With some at least semi-familiar faces like Melora Walters, Zachary Kingston, Pat Healy and Stan Shaw in it we expect something with a bit more gloss to it and we are left wanting. The film positions young Devin Druid as a star in the making and while he did a fine job being one of the primary protagonists, you are simply never able to shake the feeling that this film is actually an assemblage of outtakes or one’s with unfinished effects shots.
It goes without saying that the picture and the sound quality on the Blu-Ray are fine and the special features include a ‘making of’ The Pale Door, a feature length commentary track from the filmmakers and a featurette behind the editing of the film.
Ultimately, The Pale Door is a missed opportunity as it could have been an entertaining genre mash up but simply tries to do too much with too little and it makes for a forgettable experience.
- Genre: Horror, Western
- Release Date: 10/6/2020
- Directed by: Aaron B Koontz
- Starring: Bill Sage, Devin Druid, Melora Walters, Pat Healy, Zachary Kingston
- Written by: Aaron B Koontz, Cameron Burns, Keith Lansdale
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