In the 1980s fear and paranoia about a nuclear war gave rise to films and TV dramas about life in a post-apocalyptic world. The most famous and terrifying of all was the BBC's 1984 miniseries 'Threads' which aside from another screening the following year to mark the 40th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, hasn't been shown on terrestrial television since. If you don't remember it, then you didn't see it.
Now the threat of nuclear war has been replaced by the threat and reality of increasing terrorist atrocities and a new genre of films and docudramas show how vulnerable we all are. While 'Right at Your Door' lacks the awesome power of 'Threads', it packs a punch.
On just another day in Los Angeles, stay-at-home musician Brad ('CSI: Miami' star Cochrane) waves wife Lexi ('The West Wing's McCormack) off to work. A little while later he switches on the radio to hear news of a series of explosions in downtown LA and as the reports become clearer, he discovers that 'dirty bombs' have been detonated in the city.
Brad can't reach Lexi by phone and when gets into his car to start searching for her he doesn't get further than the police barriers down the road. The only option is to go home and seal up the windows and doors like the radio reports say. But what should he do if Lexi turns up?
Writer-director Gorak worked as an art director on such films as 'Minority Report' and 'Fight Club', and 'Right at Your Door' marks a fine feature debut for him. For the first hour he gets everything right: building the fear and paranoia in a suburban setting, making the most use of the enclosed spaces and small budget and pulling the viewer headfirst into the plot far better than the majority of thrillers, horrors and suspense movies.
But 'Right at Your Door's strengths also give rise to its biggest weakness. There are only so many scenes you can watch of edgy people sealing up doors and shouting at each other before you become tired of the experience and thus Gorak's film loses some of its power towards the close through its structure.
That said, there is a decent enough twist, which you may or may not see coming, and as an allegory for the dangers of America cutting itself off from the rest of the world it works well.
It's not one of the best films of the year, but it is one of the more memorable.