Audio Production student Ted (Matt Felmlee) is major bummed as he has to stay behind and work on an important school assignment while is pals bound off for a lil’ cabin-based R&R.
At least there’s a bit of a silver lining as his side-hustle of performing at parties has provided a source of much needed funds. So to that end he throws on his oft-requested Jester costume (seriously, who the fuck would ask for that) and speeds off into the night and to the apartment where the raging, and presumably Ren Faire inspired (spoiler: it isn’t), party is to take place.
If you payed attention to that title up yonder you can guess where this is going right quick, as Ted knocks on the wrong door and discovers a woman in apparent distress before being dragged a few doors down to the right location by a party guest.
Let me just say, the people at this party are totally balls deep into Ted’s rather lackluster Jester antics, and before long they want him to both strip and/or consume mega amounts of booze as one naturally would, which has the end result of making our man exit stage left with the quickness.
Of course Ted just has to go investigate the apartment from earlier which leads to him discovering a murder scene… but when he grabs folks from the party to have a look see, the corpse has up and vanished… but don’t worry, it turns up again to cause more mayhem in Ted’s life!
Will Ted be able to evade the murderous madmen responsible for the deed, or will he become the next casualty… can you even imagine dying in a jester costume? People would think you are either an arrogant, death-mocking prick, a complete clown, or some sort of fetishist… probably all three…
Shot on Super 8 by James Groetsch, Shawn Korby, and Bill Weiss, The Wrong Door is a suspenseful, often arty thriller that succeeds on a budget that wouldn’t cover one morning’s coffee bill of a bloated Hollywood blockbuster!
Scenes often play with the barest minimum of dialog (much of it provided by recordings Ted either makes or discovers), which gives many sequences a surreal bent that plays perfectly with the strange murder at hand… a mystery that both engages the viewer and provides a sense of mounting tension that easily keeps the viewer on the edge of their seats (although they paid for the whole thing).
A real boon to the production is actor Felmlee, who makes our protagonist both charismatic and easy to sympathize with as his day goes from bad to worse to a complete pile of shit in rapid succession… although Jeff Tatum as the film’s heavy, Jeff Ranslic is no slouch either, and comes of with delightfully exaggerated menace that fits the psychotronic element of this film to a big ol’ “T”!
Special features on this release from Visual Vengeance are an over-flowing jester’s cap worth of material which kicks off with two audio commentaries. The first features co-directors Weiss and Corby, while the second showcases co-director/editor Groetsch and producer John Schonebaum. Both are solid listens and feature old friends discussing just what it took to bring the film to life on a meager budget (aspiring no-budget filmmakers take note!).
Next comes a nearly fifty minute “making of” documentary (which provides a nice compliment to the above mentioned commentaries), followed by extended interviews from the same featuring Groetsch, Korby, Weiss. Felmlee, and Film Threat‘s Chris Gore (who was an early distributor of the film).
Also included are an alternate Director’s Cut of the film that runs seven minutes shorter than the original’s hour and thirteen minute runtime (and includes cleaned up credits), two very early Super 8 shorts from the directors, a comedic mockumentary involving a fishing show and the strained family dynamic at play behind-the-scenes, archival intros from a VHS release of the film, an image gallery, a storyboards gallery, Film Threat‘s review of the film, and a duo of trailers (one for Now Hiring, the film within a film featured in the previously mentioned mockumentary, as well as The Wrong Door of course).
As for the overall presentation, we receive a reversible sleeve, a set of VHS inspired stickers, a folded mini-poster, and a The Wrong Door branded “Do Not Disturb” sign!
If you don’t give a shit about budget (and why on Earth would you?), one could easily place this picture on a double-bill with DePalma’s Blow Out (which has similar themes and Hitchcockian influences) as The Wrong Door is suspenseful, artistic, and full of twists that will keep you on your terror toes!