More than the “How it should have ended” series on YouTube is the infuriating feeling you get when you’re watching a film that even though it’s well acted, well directed and everyone else is doing their jobs pretty well, the scriptwriter fell asleep on the job? Case in point is the oft-cited way to end Lord of the Rings in five minutes by having the eagles drop Frodo at Mount Doom.
Right At Your Door is a low-budget thriller set in Los Angeles. Several dirty bombs explode, releasing a respiratory virus into the atmosphere. Brad (Rory Cochrane) rushes out of the house to find his wife Lexi (Mary McCormack), but is stopped by police blockades and returns home. He shelters next door’s handyman, and reluctantly seals up the house from the poisonous ash. Lexi returns home hours later, coughing and covered in the toxic ash. He’s left some supplies outside for her, but refuses to let her into the house in case she contaminates him and his terrified guest. Brad and Lexi talk through the makeshift plastic barrier he’s set up, as they try to work out what the authorities aren’t telling them.
I’d agree with Rotten Tomatoes that it’s an efficient little film that goes a bit silly near the end. It’s basically a two-hander play with a few extra bit parts (such as the handyman and a small child they encounter along the way). Kudos to the cast and crew for making a very watchable film that is pretty much just people talking. It’s actually closest to, and superior to, the Tom Cruise version of War of the Worlds: the sense of confusion and unfolding horror evokes Half-Life 2, but there’s no budget here for effects. The one weakness in the film is that the cinema verite exposition makes it very hard to work out what’s going on since much of the radio dialogue is unclear – I only know what the toxin actually was from looking it up after the movie (I thought while watching the film that it was radioactive).
Without giving too much away, bar Lexi’s initial contamination, every bad thing that happens to either of them is a result of her trying to get into the house. As soon as she realised that he had sealed the house up, she should have broken into next door. After all, from the presence of the handyman (and as Brad could quickly have explained), next door’s house was empty.
HOW IT WOULD HAVE ENDED
Lexi breaks into the empty neighbour’s house. She has access to food/refreshments, a bed, clean clothes, a shower, television/radio, maybe even internet access. We know that she has a cell phone that works and that Brad has a landline that works. They could have maintained contact with each other via those means, and waved through the window at each other.
Assuming that Lexi recovers, there really isn’t any harm done. If the next door neighbours returned and did the full Goldilocks, what’s Lexi to do?
“S***, sorry about your window, guys. Here, let me pay for that, do your laundry and pay for all the food and utilities that I’ve used.”
A nice happy ending.
Kinda boring movie, though.