Another Door, Another Evil! “Beyond the Seventh Door” review!


Recently released from prison, ex-con Boris reaches out to his former lover, Wendy, to discuss the status of their relationship after her cold feet episode on a robbery job where she drives away the getaway car, leaving him red handed when the cops arrive. Wendy wants more than anything to live a normal, honest life and Boris aims to please her wishes, but needs to pull of one big job to set their future. Fortunately for him, Wendy happens to be the plaything of a wealthy paraplegic who owns a lustrous castle. Boris convinces Wendy to recon the inside, to find where the treasure might lay within the belly of the castle walls, and when the pair of thieves manage to break into the castle’s fortified basement, escaping is inevitable when a deadly game unravels. Trapped inside a chamber of terror, Boris and Wendy must go through a series of enigmatic riddles and deadly traps to move forward toward what they’ve broken into to steal, but when offered a chance to leave the game with their lives intact, will an acceptance to live be decided upon or will Boris and Wendy gamble for greed?

InterVision Picture Corp., has done it again with another stellar resurrection from the VHS video graveyard with the release and distribution of the Canadian gem “Beyond the Seventh Door.” The debut of B.D. Benedikt’s written and directed horror doesn’t display much of the elements associated with the horror genre with the exception of an acute dispersion of thrills and mystery; instead, Benedikt’s film breeds a mutt that commingles fear invoking atmospherics with the intensity of an unflinching, yet undetectable, moral essence that amusingly reestablishes the very Canadian stereotype of being too nice for the North American nation’s own good. The clearly expressed message of greed goes without saying in a plot that involves incurable thieves making life and death choices over materialistic riches despite the consequences that follow if to pursuing the latter. Another theme exposed is that working together will increase your chances to overcomes obstacles as Boris and Wendy mesh their strength and their smarts to solve puzzles and to escape traps before them and on the other end of the spectrum, going at the situation alone doesn’t work out for either one of them. The prominent themes intertwine effortlessly into a modest story that doesn’t become undercut by today’s inherent plot twists or fail to meet captivating interests as the themes are timeless and current as greed never goes out of style proven by the recent Oscar nominations for Ridley Scott’s drama “All the Money in the World.”

The cast quartet requires not one more soul to showpiece this Canadian cult classic. Leading the quaint pack is the Yugoslavian stud Lazar Rockwood and the rumors are true, Rockwood does look like the long time on screen villain Billy Drago, but Rockwood, as Boris, is no hard nose bad guy but along the lines of an anti-hero with his crooked conscious overtop a softer, tender heart for his past life lover Wendy. Bonnie Beck tackles Wendy as a woman pulled by two desires: her feelings for Boris and a normal life without lawlessness. Her more memorable scene consists of her stripping her red, thigh high skirt, exposing the lacy, black garter underneath, and comically trying to plug water spewing holes in order to not drown. Rockwood and Beck’s on screen chemistry doesn’t jive and, to be overly honest, their bond is substantially weak, but to embody and embrace a characterized scorn and torn twosome, the pair share a set ablaze with passion for accomplishment that oddly resembles Richard Chamberlain’s Allan Quartermain’s adventures sans the quirky comedic charm. Rockwood and Beck completely make up about 90 percent of the screen time as Gary Freedman, in his sole credit, dons the mysterious Castle owner and a local Canadian celebrity, a street performer, named Ben Kerr who only had to sit with his eyes open and act a corpse.

Modest as it was, “Beyond the Seventh Door’s” independent production couldn’t rival the end resulting magnitude of which the construction of the trap rooms and the characterization of the score would suggest a bigger wallet project, transforming that aforementioned simple story into a big ticket item. Behind the financial curtain is the responsible parties, the Herceg brothers Frank, Steve, and Tony and along with a fourth producer, Lubomir J. Novotny, Bozidar D. Benedikt gained the trust to pull off a no-budget thriller into a wild brain, catacomb horror that pre-dates the escape room element of “Cube” and Jigsaw’s lethally virtuous games. Now, I wouldn’t say “Beyond the Seventh Door” pioneered the genre, but merely had a minor influenced and sometimes that’s all it takes for inspiration.

Canada’s ambitious exploitation film “Beyond the Seventh Door” is now out for the first time every on DVD courtesy of InterVision Picture Corp., the sui generis distributor of rare independent genre films. Presented in a full screen 1.33:1 aspect ratio, the shot-on-video image quality retains an above VHS level quality with a clearer picture and refined details. BBlotchy moments are still prevalent, especially in long shots of Boris leaving the prison and walks along a cold path to the waterfront, but doesn’t kill the reflective moment. The audio 2.0 mono track has great clarity, range, and depth that showcases some of Lazar’s greatest lines of his hilariously read dialogue, such as “Screw you! You hear me, screw you!” The synthesized soundtrack emanates balanced LFE and range. There’s minor, but inconsequential, hissing during dialogued lines. Bonus features include audio commentary with director B.D. Benedikt, star Lazar Rockwood, and moderated by Paul Corupe of Canuxploitation.com. Also included are interviews with B.D. Benedikt, Lazar Rockwood, and Paul Corupe in a “Beyond Beyond the Seventh Door” segment and a look at Ben Kerr, a Toronto eccentric, in “The King of Cayenne” that delves into Kerr’s street performing life, his run for political office, and his overall love for a cayenne pepper cocktail. “Beyond the Seventh Door” is an anomalous, door-after-door misadventure with eccentric performances and an exceptional plot twist that only B.D. Benedikt could kook up and only Lazar Rockwood could pull off.

Own a copy of “Beyond the Seventh Door” today!

Evil Will Lock You Up Forever! Iron Doors review!

IDMVDA 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.

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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.

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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!