Wolves At The Door Review
by Phillip Wilcox "Our Movie Demon"
Ever since it happened, the entire country had become obsessed with one of the most grisly, unimaginably horrendous crimes in US History - The Manson Family Murders. A series of murders that left 5 people brutally stabbed and maimed including pregnant actress Sharon Tate, whom at the time was married to filmmaker Roman Polanski. After that fateful summer night, what was to follow was decades of books, songs (i.e. The Beatles "Helter Skelter") and countless films, both fictional accounts and documentaries about that terrifying night in 1969. I believe what made that event so chilling and embedded in the memories of every person that lived through that time and every person that was to be born after that is not just the fact that well known and famous people were involved. It was the prospect that something that devastating and terrible could happen to ANYONE. No one was safe. And that is exactly what the members of The Manson Family wanted people to feel. They didn't discriminate when it came to inflicting pain and fear upon anyone they came into contact with.
Fast forward to this year, 2017, when a new interpretated film about those murders was released. It is indeed directly inspired by that event but is fictionalized and very much character driven. It has a very strong vibe and filming execution that The Strangers had. It's 112 minutes long however, even though there is a bone chilling scene in the beginning, it isn't until around the 40 minute mark where things really start to pick up. And that's not to say that between that first scene and the 40 minute mark nothing happens. It takes that time to really let you get to know the characters so that when horrible things begin to happen, you get tremendously invested in them emotionally. Because it is about the murders, that word right there should give you an indication that there is no happy ending to this particular story. It's tragic and therefore has a tragic ending.
What I loved about it was that while other films that took on this story focused a lot on Charles Manson and his followers, the way this film was shot was brilliant in that it did it in a way that didn't focus on Manson or his followers. Because this story wasn't about them - Finally! This story focused on the lives of the victims. It was all about those who met their untimely demises at the hands of psychopaths. The other thing about this film that I really enjoyed and thought was clever was its themes. I didn't see the full scope of the title as it really did carry with it not just the theme of bad people trying to break into a house. It had a connection with fabled characters and stories such as the Three Little Pigs (which the word Pigs really did play an important part in what actually happened) and Little Red Riding Hood. Which those 2 stories do make their way into the film if you're a person who really pays attention. And plus it wasn't just about the "Big Bad Wolves", what makes the whole situation give a person goosebumps is the thought of an invasion. Think about it. Why are films like War of The Worlds, The Strangers, The Exorcist, or Invasion Of The Body Snatchers scary to people? Because just the concept of something unknown, or unwanted invading your planet or your home or your body is one of the most violating things that could happen to us. We are such fragile creatures. So for something or someone to violate us in such ways is much more frightening than any mongoloid with a machete wearing a hockey mask.
Director John R. Leonetti has been in the business for some time now, mainly as a cinematographer on some memorable horror films like The Conjuring, the Insidious films, Dead Silence, and even going back a ways doing camera work for episodes of Tales From The Crypt TV series and doing fun movies as well like Mortal Kombat and The Mask. This man has had a successful history of shooting great movies. As a director I was very much impressed with what he did with the film Annabelle. This movie's also got a great cast with Miles Fisher (Final Destination 5), Adam Campbell (whom is typically known for doing comedies but I think he did a solid job in this movie), Elizabeth Henstridge (Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.), appearances by Chris Mulkey (First Blood, Captain Phillips, Whiplash) and Malcom In The Middle's Jane Kaczmarek; and Katie Cassidy, whom people would easily recognize from a cascade of various films and TV shows once they see her. I really enjoy her performances and if you think about it, she's pretty much a chameleon as she can just easily be in a horror as much as comedy or action or drama. She's just always a joy to watch onscreen, and there's no denying she did very well in this picture playing the beautiful and doomed Sharon Tate.
So curled up on the couch, turn off the lights, grab your popcorn and watch Wolves At The Door. Now available on various VOD platforms!
Writer: Gary Dauberman
Director: John R. Leonetti
Starring: Katie Cassidy, Elizabeth Henstridge, Adam Campbell, Miles Fisher, Chris Mulkey, Jane Kaczmarek, Spencer Daniels, Lucas Adams, Nina Boyer, Matt Dority, Alixzandra Dove, Ashley Leilani
Running Time: 1 hour 13 minutes
How It Can Be Seen: VOD