A young investment banker awakes with a major headache and trapped inside a vault. Having no idea how he landed inside this death trap, he struggles to find a way out before he dies of dehydration or starvation. As he tries to piece together who has an immoral vendetta against him, an escape from the vault leaves him desperate and energy spent while the questions of his mysterious circumstances are almost too much for his mind to bare.
We’ve seen this type of movie before where one or more people wake up to find that they have no idea where they are or how they got there. Iron Doors plays on top of that age old aspect that normally what scares the crap out of people – the unknown. Iron Doors resembles a lot like 1997’s Cube without the traps. Instead, the rooms are filled with different objects that might or might not leave foreboding clues to their whereabouts – such as a coffin and a grave. The idea behind these types of movies, which also include the first two Saw movies and Ryan Reynolds Buried, are giant concepts and yet somehow these filmmakers, including Iron Doors director Stephen Manuel, are able to take the minimalistic routes and produce a thrilling story.
However, unlike Saw and Cube, Iron Doors ending bares a big disappointment and leaves the audience more questions than answers. I can tell you that the ending left me yearning for more answers, but I guess we have to make our own conclusions and nothing can just be handed to us as a freebie. I hope this won’t spoil too much or if any at all about the movie, but I want to provide my own interpretation of the status on our main character actor Axel Wedekind and his companion actress Rungano Nyoni, an African woman who doesn’t speak a lick of English. I strongly believe the characters are dead and have been stuck in limbo where the duo must be capable to work together, supporting each other to dig, chisel, and survive their way out of the vaults. The clues are this, and I’ve mention these two already, the coffin and the open grave. Two straight forward signs of recent death. Also, when Axel wakes up in his vault, what accompanies him is a maggot infested dead rat and that, again, suggests that death surrounds him. When Axel tries to recall what he was doing before he awoke in the vault, he states that he was out at the bar (he continuously states that he will never drink again) and didn’t know where he left his car suggesting that Axel was very intoxicated and probably crashed his car, killing himself in a DUI incident. Rungano, in subtitles, mentions being from Africa where we know genocide and disease plague most of the un-urbanized parts of the lands. Rungano’s traditional outfit suggests that she leaves in a primitive tribe. A bit of a stretch on my end, I know. Plus, the vault itself is supernatural and every time the characters enter a new room they are confronted by the same four walls and a vault door, but only the objects are different.
The film never really picks up the pace and sometimes the tediousness of the characters’ attempts to escape are captured too long in a scene extending the scene way past it’s prime. Their survival instincts, drinking their own urine, eating maggots, using a discovered oxygen tank for air, are seemingly instinctively smart, but realistically very ill-advised. We can only blame panic on the part of Axel, but opposite Axel, Rungano is calmer and level headed yet she is persuaded by Axel who has been awake three days longer than Rungano. Yet desperation gets the better of her when knowing her existence is near end and breaks down to enjoy compassionate love with a barely alive Axel in what could be their last hours on, what they believe, is their world.
MVD releases the Germany born and bred English spoken Iron Doors, a suspenseful thriller I would recommend for any fans of Cube or Buried. If you’re claustrophobic, then I’m sorry because you probably will not enjoy this film; you’ll most likely suffocate at the idea of being locked in a small room with a dead rat. Purchase the film at MVD!