starring Lalor Roddy, Ciaran Flynn, Helena Bereen, Lauren Coe
screenplay by Martin Brennan, Michael B. Jackson, Aislinn Clarke
directed by Aislinn Clarke
by Walter Chaw Aislinn Clarke's hyphenate debut The Devil's Doorway is a found-footage concept shot on 16mm and set in a Magdalene Asylum circa 1960. Two priests are dispatched from the Vatican to investigate statues of the Virgin Mary that are apparently weeping blood. "Type O negative, female, pregnant," says wizened, world-weary Father Thomas (Lalor Roddy, a real discovery), who finds himself in the midst of a crisis of faith. It won't be a miracle, he's sure. When his young charge and de facto cameraman Father John (Ciaran Flynn) asks him why not, Thomas responds, "Because it never is." He's Fathers Merrin and Karras, both, from The Exorcist: the man of the cloth who can wield his faith, and the man of the cloth who wonders if he's lost his faith entirely. Thomas--dubbed "doubting" by John, naturally--expresses his rage and disgust at the asylums, also called "laundries," in Ireland where young "fallen" women were sent to hide the shame of unwanted pregnancies, nervous disorders, and other socially-objectionable "maladies" from judgmental neighbours. He's unimpressed, then, by cold, patrician Mother Superior (Helena Bereen), who lacks nuance in the way she sees her charges. And when things become inexplicable, as they are wont to do in haunted asylums, there's something like relief for Thomas to discover that if there's no God, there might at least be the Devil.