Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Red Door (2008)

Red Door is a vividly surreal portrait of Hell from writer/director David Pike. This short 34-minute film is full of symbolism but allows the viewer to come to his or her own conclusions about just what and/or where the Red Door leads to.

We meet lead character Todd (Bilal Mir) at 9am as he settles into his drab office. From his briefcase he takes out a folder and a voice recorder, placing them on his sparse desk. His office is boring and colorless except for a blood-red door that seems out of place and even has a large padlock on it. Shortly after, Todd receives a phone call telling him to stay put because there are bombings and some sort of catastrophe outside.

Todd unquestioningly stays put and we flashback to how he got this job in the first place. We also learn that his wife was murdered and he turned to drinking to numb the pain. At his old job he almost burned the office building down because he fell asleep with a cigarette in his mouth. He tells the HR rep named Charlotte (played by Tiffany Shepis) he isn’t quite sure how he escaped the fire. Despite his “history,” Todd is hired, though he has to sign a contract in blood and Charlotte suddenly turns into a leering demon covered in blood.

We come back into the present as Todd records his mundane actions and deep thoughts onto his voice recorder. Stuck in his office, Todd is determined to find out just what is behind the red door once and for all, whether it be darkness or salvation.

Red Door is a stunning-looking film that is just drenched in color symbolism, from the nameplates on the characters’ desks to the colors of their offices. Director David Pike is serious about putting meaning behind everything used in the film and says Red Door is a film where every shot, every line, and every object has meaning.” The scenes are very simple and don’t include much except for the characters and a few pieces of furniture, but the sparse atmosphere makes you wonder what exactly is going on because there is obviously more than meets the eye. Red Door is a simple yet complex film all in one.

Some people might not like the film’s ambiguous ending, but it does give the viewer a chance to actually decide for themselves what they just saw. Was Todd already dead? Did he exist in Purgatory or was he already in Hell? What happened to his wife? Was he the murderer? Who really was Charlotte? And why did Todd have to “protect” his office? All of this is basically left up to the viewer to decide, and while some people may not be satisfied by this, it works.

A stunning film debut from writer/director David Pike, Red Door is one that should be opened and embraced by genre fans.

Visit Red Door’s Official Site!

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