Alone in the frontier desolation surrounding their family farm, siblings Caroline (Madison Davenport) and Darrell (Jake Johnson) wait for the return of their Mother and Father, who took off in a covered wagon. As the two go about their days, maintaining their home as best as two children can do, they find that they may not be alone after all; there are strange sounds coming from behind the boarded-up attic door. To make matters worse, Caroline continues to cough up blood.
The Attic Door is a spooky mystery on a number of different levels. As the children are increasingly terrorized by the sounds from behind the door, and their imagination of what is making those sounds, so too does their isolation and abandonment issues take hold. The true horror may not be coming from what may be hiding in their house, but instead the reality of their situation.
And unfortunately, the reality is that two children have to take on the roles of their parents, from milking the cow to killing the chickens; nothing new by farming standards, but still somewhat unique to the two youngsters. All the while without any news on when, or if, their parents will be returning.
To extend these fictional responsibilities into the realm of the film’s production, just as the two children do the heavy-lifting on the farm, so too are the young actors required to carry practically the entire film. By no means is it a simple task for two children to be the main cinematic focus, without anyone else to play off of, and succeed. Massive respect and kudos to Madison Davenport and Jake Johnson for doing something that not even adult actors can necessarily pull off consistently.
In the end, The Attic Door is frightening on a number of levels beyond its supernatural hints, and wonderfully affected beyond the explanations and turns in its final minutes. It achieves its storytelling strength through a simple tale of frontier hardship, bolstered by the great performances by its two young leads.
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