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Thursday, August 27, 2020

Review: The Pale Door

Director: Aaron B. Koontz
Screenplay: Cameron Burns, Aaron B. Koontz, and Keith Lansdale
Year: 2020

A group of outlaws robs a train looking for a box for which they were offered a reward. The robbery doesn't go as planned, and one of the outlaws ends up gravely injured. In their search for help, they find a desolated town where they are aided by a group of women, who end up being witches. 

“The Pale Door” combines the style of wild west action movies with elements of horror cinema. This mix can raise a few eyebrows, but has been proven to work well by films such as “Bone Tomahawk” and “The Wind”. However, “The Pale Door” falls a few steps below these examples. 

One of the things that quickly stands out from the movie from director Aaron B. Koontz (“Scare Package”) is how polished and smooth everything looks, which is uncommon in western movies. Notably, the outlaws’ appearance lacks realism, and it is hard to look at them as such because of their mismatched looks. I cannot point out if it is a problem with the acting or the characters in the script by Cameron Burns (“Camera Obscura”), Aaron B. Koontz, and Keith Lansdale (“Creepshow”), but how uninteresting the characters come out as and their dynamics do not help the viewer get into the plot. 

In comparison with the western look, the horror aspect is worked out a lot better. In some parts, the budget limitations are felt mostly in some visual aspects that do not enjoy the best quality, Where it is clear that a lot of effort was put on is in the practical effects and gore, which are the highlight of the movie. 

As to the story, the idea of combining the western topic with a witch coven that leads to a confrontation among both groups is exciting, and its execution is not bad, but it never reaches the level it promises. At all times, it feels like it falls short of what it offers and that a better job could have been done. As well as what happens with the characters, this is a problem that prevents you from really getting into the plot.

“The Pale Door” faces a group of wild west outlaws with a witch coven, an idea that has generated high expectations among horror movie fanatics. The result falls short of filling these expectations and feels like a story with plenty of potential but lackluster. In its plot, as well as its characters and how everything is shown on screen, it feels like a better job could have been done, and not even the great practical effects and score are enough to put some color on it.

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