It is a little surprising that the success of The Purge did not see more direct tie-ins. By which, I mean, while home invasion thrillers were still all the rage in its wake, very few productions, if any, took the idea of a specific organization/group of people attacking for a limited period of time. Enter writer/director Kipp Tribble’s Evil At The Door, which follows members of The Locusts, and the one night a year their members go on excursions.
These involve a group of four Locusts members having 180-minutes to harass, torture, and ultimately kill the residents of the chosen home. Failure to do so in the allotted time makes life hard for the heads of the malevolent society. Tonight, Kennedy (Richard Siegelman), Nixon (Kenny Yates), Truman (Kipp Tribble), and Eisenhower (Scott Hamm) enter the home of Daniel (Matt O’Neil) and Jessica (Sunny Doench). Unbeknownst to them, Jessica’s sister, Liz (Andrea Sweeney Blanco), is visiting, and once things get underway, she hides under the bed. Can Liz escape or wait out the clock? Or is everyone in the house doomed the moment the four masked men entered?
“…is everyone in the house doomed the moment the four masked men entered?”
Interestingly, Tribble is less interested in the residents of the home than he is in what drives people to want to participate in the “Night Of The Locusts.” To that extent, Evil At The Door dives into the four baddies and their previous evil expeditions. This is a novel angle to take and helps the film stand out. Unfortunately, after the opening title sequence, which sets up The Locusts and their yearly ritual of pain, the movie catches up with Daniel, Jessica, and Liz instead of jumping right in with Kennedy and his cohorts. This gives less time for getting to know the villains, so the focus on them, once they break in, comes a bit out of nowhere.
Even more frustrating is that Daniel and Jessica are so boring, and the attempts at giving them dimension are contrived and dumb. Ignoring the residents entirely and solely focusing on the Locusts members would prevent the confusing narrative shift and allow for a greater exploration of what drives a person to commit such heinous acts. Though, to be fair, the script does give Liz a decent amount to work with and hoping she escapes is where the tension lies.
"…a solid recommendation to home invasion and/or giant Purge fans..."