The Open Door [2017] (Movie Review)

Plot Summary

When Madison’s mother dies tragically, she is left with the custody of her special needs brother, Sam.  She had tried to escape from him by striking out of her own because she felt jealous of the attention he received, but now they are forced to live together.  However, Madison’s landlord takes an interest in Sam and takes him under his wing.  Together, the three of them learn about God’s love for every person, regardless of their needs.

 

Production Quality (1.5 points)

Much like their freshman project The Return, Salty Earth Productions appears to mean well with most things they do.  This is a mostly average production, and it sports good video quality.  However, there is some odd lighting in parts, especially in the flashbacks.  Sometimes camera work is too stationary, and sets, props, and locations tend to be limited and cheap-looking.  However, there is production improvement throughout, especially with the outside scenes.  Yet the soundtrack is sometimes too loud and there one too many musical montages.  Also, there are unnecessary fades and cumbersome transitions sprinkled throughout.  However, this production is overall good enough to be average.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

Much like The Return, The Open Door is based on a good, well-meaning idea that doesn’t really follow through or completely deliver.  Most of the time, the storyline is too vague and underwhelming.  The plot is too muted, slow, and drab.  It is also extremely simplistic—concepts are portrayed in slightly juvenile fashions at times.  Since this is a character-based plot, and since there are few characters, they need to be developed through more meaningful dialogue.  However, the flashbacks and psychological elements utilized throughout are interesting, yet they are not enough to really hold the attention.  In the end, this is another nice try, but not good enough.

Acting Quality (1.5 points)

With a similar cast to The Return, these cast members in this film appear to mean well, even though they tend to be awkward.  Too many lines are forced and too many emotions come off as very unnatural.  Yet there are enough good moments here to make this an average contribution.

Conclusion

The Salty Earth team is showing some improvement, and they do continue to show attempts to portray real people.  It’s possible that this cast could be better with more upgraded coaching, yet they need some way better lines to work with.  A character-based plot like this one needs to contain very deep and complex characters, especially since there are so few of them.  But unfortunately, this sort of film is hard to come by in the Christian industry.

 

Final Rating: 2.5 out of 10 points

 

https://vimeo.com/191292401

2 thoughts on “The Open Door [2017] (Movie Review)

  1. I’m not complaining about this review, but I want to give you genuine perspective. I have run a Church-based Drive-in, and indoor theater for 17 years. I’ve shown over 750 features in that time on a 25′ screen indoors and a 42′ screen outdoors. I preview double that. I take great issue with anyone who says; “Sometimes camera work is too stationary,” Never. Every young filmmaker thinks that they hand-hold well. No one does. Not even with a gyro. No hand held or pan shot should be more than 8 seconds. On a big screen, nausea results. 90% of Christian films have way too much NON-stationary camera work. Most don’t have a trolley. Luckily, over the last few years drones have gotten better stabilization, but even that can get over use. If you are shooting for tablets, hand-held is OK. If you are shooting for a real theater, forget it. This is the largest objection for anyone doing large-screen theater. Some are so bad I want to re-stabilize for them, but they have already cropped. The second largest problem is sound. This particular film was genuinely fine sound-wise, but most Christian features are not shot on a sound stage, and indoor shots echo badly in our large auditorium. The last complaint about most Christian features is also sound related. You get a great score, and paid too much for it, and so you use it; masking the dialog. If you don’t have audio ducking (and most Christian editors don’t know what that is) than give me a separate center dialog channel so sister Sue or brother Ben, both of which have hearing issues can have the dialog turned up without blasting your score too and making Sue and Ben mad. I despise having to turn on subtitles with a 25′ wide screen, something that happens more often than you would believe.

    BTW, this particular film has a better plot than 50% of Christian features. Film is more about story than anything else except perhaps a strong message. It’s several times better than this makers’ first film. I’ve contacted Bridgestone and intend to show it at the smaller indoor theater this spring.

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