August 1, 2018

Movie Review: Beyond the 7th Door

Beyond the 7th Door is a movie that almost defies explanation. It is a movie that was made on the tiniest of budgets, with the tiniest of casts, and once it was made it seemed to pass directly into legend. It did not pass Go and I am pretty sure it did not collect it’s $200 dollars as it passed from completed film into Canuxploitation obscurity. An oddball puzzle movie with the most fascinating of leads, likely passed around the underground on worsening generations of VHS tape, confounding ll who watched it. It is a movie that on one hand fascinated me and on the other hand made me question my own cinematic tastes.

The movie was the debut feature length film for writer/director Bozidar D. Benedikt (also a best selling author of religious thrillers as B.D. Benedikt). It is a movie that really deserves to be seen. I cannot make any claim as to whether you will like it or not, but I found it to be such a curiosity with an enigma for a star that I was rather trapped by the slow burning, no budget spell it cast over me. It is sort of like the golden idol puzzle from Raiders of the Lost Ark, or the elements puzzle from the end of The Fifth Element, stretched out to barely make the feature length mark. Actually, a better comparison might by made to Cube and those characters efforts to movie from room to room.

Do I have your attention yet? If not, would it help to know the star of the movie is names Lazar Rockwood? Not his character, that is his real name. It is the sort of name that gets your attention, does it not? Lazar stars as Boris, a chain smoking, thick accented, career thief recently released from prison. After walking for awhile, he catches a cab and meets up with his ex-girlfriend, Wendy (Bonnie Breck, Friday the 13th: The Series). She works for a wealthy paraplegic in his sprawling castle. It is rumored that there is treasure hidden somewhere deep in the bowels of the estate, and Boris wants a taste.

Wendy reluctantly agrees to help him. Together they sneak into the house to begin the search. It is too bad they didn’t know the eccentric old man was ready for this to happen. The path to the treasure is a series of puzzle rooms whose goal is to kill those trying to get through. One room has spikes in the ceiling, one fills with water, another has a floor covered with letters and skulls. Can Boris and Wendy keep it together long enough to figure out the puzzles and get through? What awaits them through the seventh door?

Beyond the 7th Door is not really a good movie, but it still manages to succeed in my eyes. The puzzles are varied enough to keep me guessing, and the leads, despite limited acting skills are strangely compelling. In particular, Lazar’s Boris is quite aware of his limitations, but he has a desire to push forward and reap the rewards of success. Combine that strange can-do attitude with his off-kilter looks and hard to place accent, and you just can’t look away.

Like I said, this movie deserves to be seen, whether you end up liking it or not. I found it to be a kooky gem, and the twist at the end actually ensures that you keep guessing all the way through. This movie is one of those testaments to DIY filmmaking, it has that sort of feel. It feels like a film made by somebody who had a grand idea for a film and refused to let budget or anything get in the way of making it a reality.


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