Writer/director Chris Gorak's The Darkest Hour hit theaters on Christmas Day; to give you an idea of why you should be excited, here's an appreciation of Gorak's topical 2006 chiller, Right at Your Door.
“They don’t really know anything,” Rory Cochrane murmurs wonderingly at one point early on in Right at Your Door, writer/director Chris Gorak’s nightmarish horror parable about the War on Terror as it's imagined at home. That line of dialogue guilelessly gets to the heart of Gorak’s drama, which features the best and not-so-best aspects of George Romero’s trenchantly moralistic horror movies.
Cochrane's exclamation is a small but significant breakthrough for his character. At this point in the film, a dirty bomb has gone off in downtown Los Angeles, sending toxic ashes across the city and its suburbs. Brad, Cochrane’s harried antihero, has sealed himself into his house at the recommendation of local authorities. He’s shuttered his house with duct tape and cellophane. But his wife Lexi (Mary McCormack) is on the outside of his house. She's now, as the title says, right at the door, and Brad can't – or maybe just won't – let her in.
So when Brad says, “They don’t really know anything,” to Lexi, who’s now tearfully begging Brad to let her into the house, Brad’s not really talking to her. He’s admitting to himself that yes, all the preparation and due diligence he’s hitherto performed don’t amount to a hill of beans considering that the people he’s taking orders from aren’t even sure what’s happened. From that moment, Brad’s one short step away from half-wailing and half-spitting out to Lexi that the L.A. authorities “don't fuckin' know enough to sugarcoat anything."
Simon Abrams is a New York-based freelance arts critic. His film reviews and features have been featured in the Village Voice, Time Out New York, Slant Magazine, The L Magazine, New York Press and Time Out Chicago. He currently writes TV criticism for The Onion AV Club and is a contributing writer at the Comics Journal. His writings on film are collected at the blog, Extended Cut.
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