Review of 'Portal (or "Doors")'

portal.jpg An anthology of four stories where mysterious alien portals appear throughout the planet. In the first section of the film “Lockdown” four teens (Kathy Khanh, Julianne Collins, Aric Floyd and Rory Anne Dahl) taking a test at school wonder what is going on when their supervisor (Christopher Black) gets an obviously disturbing phone call, leaving the room, then with military jets flying overhead followed by all of their mobile phones, locked in a cupboard, start buzzing for their attention. Freeing themselves from their classroom they see a mysterious black mass at the end of the hallway…In “Knockers” we follow a group of “Knockers”, explorers who enter the portals for a limited time to avoid psychological damage then return. What they find is truly disturbing. In “Lamaj” a scientist (Kyp Malone) living in the woods has found a way to communicate with a portal. Unsure what to do when he receives a response he relies on a former colleague (Kristina Lear) to offer advice. The final film “interstitials” sees a podcaster (Darius Levanté) talking to a scientist about what is going on when things sort to get very weird…

Watching this film do not expect any answers or understanding of any kind as to what the portals or “doors” actually are or, sadly, what they really do. Basically, for the whole film despite the doors being center screen pretty much the whole time we have no real understanding of what the peril to us is other than some vague psychological effects. “Woah scary black door but we have no idea what it does” which is difficult to take for the length of an entire film with, oddly, less understanding at the ending than at the beginning. Ok, ok, it does looks alright as far as special effects (though not great), acting, and cinematography are concerned particularly the “Knockers” segment (though the hazmat suits look decidedly cheezy) and the acting is reasonable but really the whole film is “spooky door, what happens when we touch it…” with little, if any, story progression. I found it all a bit unsatisfying and was left feeling more annoyed than anything else. It does not help that each short story does not really build on the previous, requiring a complete shift of our focus. In this I feel we have four short films with a common setting but otherwise pretty much completely unrelated.

Looks alright but ultimately unsatisfying and disjointed.

Rating: “A bit better than average”

Review Date: 2024-05-12

Directed by: Saman Kesh, Jeff Desom and Dugan O'Neal

Studio: Bloody Disgusting

Year: 2021

Length: 84 minutes

Genre: Science Fiction