The Pale Door follows a gruff gang in the old west as they intrude upon a mysterious town overrun with witches.
The Pale Door Review
To not judge a book by its cover is a statement that rings no more true than upon the viewing of The Pale Door film compared to its poster. An excellent comparison would be the awful cover of The Pact and the fantastic film it actually is. If you're following that analogy as intended, you will extract that The Pale Door was a rather disappointing movie that lacked much of the qualities necessary to produce a substantial and entertaining film, even in the realm of indie horror.
So you tell me, which one looks like the better production?...Regardless, this isn't a soapbox worth standing on today, though I have little to offer up for a review of a film that offered little in return, so I have the space to work with...The Pale Door just isn't good, and it hardly has any distinction worth noting on its lack of energy, expression of budget-stretching, acting, or really any quality generally noted within a film review.
Though I struggled to glean this conclusion from the trailer, which I am embarrassed to add, it was rather clear from the opening scenes of The Pale Door that the production quality was somewhere between 90s TV production and lackluster indie film. The cinematography is standard and bland, with sets and costumes that felt like castoff pieces from local plays. The acting is abysmal with writing to match, despite a desperate attempt on too many occasions to develop a connection with the audience. But instead of connecting, we simply grow annoyed and bored and hungry for some witch action. Which we get, but...
The witches have this cliche look to them that feels like something of a mild parody like a Tales from the Crypt movie. The appeal of this movie was the feral-like approach it seemed to take, but that aspect wears off quickly with the execution and repetitive nature of the witches. The weak CG of them climbing around on ceilings is about as bland as the practical effect "suits" and prosthetics that feel as uninspired and unoriginal as the standard, overused zombie.
But it all pales (get it?) in comparison to the "climax"(?) in the church in which the witches can't enter, but are able to curse the inhabitants in horrible ways. It leads to them getting picked off one by one in between drawn out and boring conversations between the survivors. At only an hour and half runtime, it manages to drag horribly.
I was hoping for a self-aware, chaotic romp of witch horror akin to a more dark-toned From Dusk Till Dawn. An unfair expectation, I guess...but even without that, I still would consider this film a disappointment. It lacks pace, character, and just overall quality...and all of that would be forgivable if it was at least crazy, chaotic fun, but it just...isn't.
Horror Rating System
Horror Qualifier: 8/10
Horror Quality: 3/10
Film Quality: 2/10