The new InterVision DVD of Beyond the 7th Door is currently $11.99 on Amazon. The DVD doesn’t come out until Halloween but you should go pre-order it right now. Seriously, stop whatever you’re doing and go pre-order this now. I’ll wait.
I’m waiting, go on now. And don’t forget to enter the three-digit security code on the back of your debit card.
Order all placed? Great. Now go wait by the mailbox. I know it’s nearly two weeks away from release date, but maybe Amazon will slip up and ship it early and if that’s the case you don’t want to just leave this sitting in your mailbox. You need this in your hands as soon as possible so you can transfer it to your DVD player.
You may be thinking to yourself, “What is Beyond the 7th Door and why should I listen to you, Chris?” I don’t have an answer for that second part, but I can tell you what Beyond the 7th Door is. It’s awesome, that’s what it is.
Beyond the 7th Door is a movie unlike anything else I’ve seen before. It’s a slice of Canadian cinema that must be cherished forever. I guess you could say it’s like The Room before The Room, but it’s even better because this time there is 7 rooms and 7 is more than 1. Do the math, it checks out.
Lazar Rockwood — greatest name ever — stars as Boris, a career criminal recently released from prison. Boris claims that he wants to turn his life around but not before completing one last job. He learns that his former girlfriend Wendy (Bonnie Beck) is working for a paraplegic millionaire named Lord Breston (Gary Freedman). Rumor has it that somewhere inside Lord Breston’s massive mansion is a treasure. Boris meets with Wendy and his able to convince her to help him break into the place and get the treasure. Boris swears this will be his last job. Wendy is reluctant at first but eventually gives in. She agrees to scope the place out and get any keys or passcodes necessary to commit the heist with ease.
The big day finally comes and Boris and Wendy are able to enter a backroom of the mansion with ease. So far, so good. After entering the first room things take a change as they are immediately locked in. Suddenly they hear the voice of Lord Breston speaking to them over a PA system. Breston explains that he knows they’re there for the treasure and they can keep it they find it. The trick is they have to make it through 7 rooms and each one of those rooms will kill you if you don’t make it out fast enough.
The rooms contain a variety of traps designed to kill intruders, but each one has an escape route waiting to be found. Some rooms are pretty clever and contain puzzles that Boris and Wendy must solve. And some rooms are just plain silly but still result in highly tense situations. One room looks sort of like a sewer and it starts to fill with water while Wendy is trapped inside. To escape Wendy merely has to use a screwdriver to remove about 20 screws from a plate blocking the exit. This sounds simple but before she can get the screws all out water begins to fill the room and she starts to panic, frantically trying to stop the water from flowing in. Meanwhile, Boris is another room trying to think of a way to pull Wendy out. It’s all very silly but somehow works. The scene is very tense.
Beyond the 7th Door is composed of some of the greatest dialogue you’ll ever hear. My favorite line actually comes during the water scene. In order to stop the water flow Wendy rips up her dress to plug the spouts and this leaves her legs fully exposed. As Wendy is struggling to escape and Boris is attempting to help her out he stops for a moment to acknowledge her legs. I can’t remember the specific line but he says something like, “I never took the time to appreciate your legs.” Amazing.
The only thing more amazing than the legs discussion is the score composed by the trio of Michael Clive, Brock Fricker and Philip Strong. The music in this movie is like a John Carpenter knock off and I think it’s brilliant. I’d pay good money to have this on vinyl. Maybe Severin Films can enter the vinyl game?
I should point out that this is a no-budget movie and it does show. The cast is minimal and the acting isn’t great. Rockwood’s line readings are hysterical. The plot is pretty silly and the ending is so ridiculously outlandish. Despite all these shortcomings director B.D. Benedikt creates a pretty compelling thriller that zips along — though I’m sure the cool 77-minute runtime helps with that.
The reason I love Beyond the 7th Door is that it bleeds the spirit of independent filmmaking. It’s akin to Dangerous Men or Miami Connection. The flaws don’t matter when you have so much passion. This movie is a blast from start to finish, issues be damned!
The DVD contains a handful of special features. There is an audio commentary with Benedikt and Rockwood that is moderated by Canuxploitation’s Paul Corupe. I haven’t listened to this yet but I will because I know it’s amazing. There’s also a 21-minute interview feature with the trio that I have listened to and it’s everything I wanted it to be. Benedikt either owns or works at a theater in Canada and he takes us on a brief tour where he discusses the death of indie filmmaking thanks to everything going digital and mega studios creating a monopoly on Hollywood. He also shows off a collection of religious thrillers he’s written over the years. Rockwood commands the spotlight here though as he shares the key to becoming a great actor which is to own a cat. Rounding things out is a quick 4-minute feature on a Canadian street performer named Ben Kerr. He has a cameo in the movie as a dead man.
I love Beyond the 7th Door. I just love it to death. I’ve already watched it twice and I plan to watch it more. And when I say I’ve watched it twice I mean I watched it and as soon as it was done I hit play again. That’s twice back-to-back in one setting. It’s one of the best releases of the year and I’ll forever be in debt to the fine folks at InterVision for introducing me to this lovely gem. Now if you’ll excuse me I have to go watch it for a third time.