This might seem like faint praise for a feature film, but Right at Your Door plays out almost exactly like a well-crafted episode of The Twilight Zone. It starts out with a topical premise -- a dirty bomb explodes during rush hour in L.A. -- and then uses it to set up an interesting (if implausible) moral conundrum between its two leads, a husband and wife played by Mary McCormack and Rory Cochrane. The attack happens shortly after McCormack's character leaves the couple's modest L.A. home one morning, and within minutes the news media is reporting a breakdown in basic police and hospital services due to overwhelming need, and warning residents that the smoke cloud from the explosions contains deadly toxic gas, and that anyone who was near the blast site is now a lethal carrier of said toxin. Fearing for his life, the panic-stricken husband seals up all of the doors and windows in the house, and just as he's finishing, his soot-covered wife comes staggering up to the door, demanding to be let in. Should he let her?
Not to belabor this point, but the Twilight Zone analogy is so apt, in fact -- the focus of the film is completely on two characters, there's a ticking-clock situation, and there's the moral paradox offered up for the audience to chew on -- that if a thirty-minute cut of the film were presented as the opening episode of a New, New Twilight Zone, I imagine it would get solid reviews for upholding the basic framework of the old show. As a feature film, Right at Your Door is manipulative, to be sure, but also clever enough to be fun -- and the whole thing benefits hugely from solid acting by both McCormack and Cochrane, who have to scream, cry, panic, collapse into depression and perform just about every other kind of big acting move that you can imagine. It also contains some kernels of realism, as when it correctly imagines how easily a city overwhelmed by panic could be become the province of capricious, trigger-happy soldiers and badly-thought-out plans by roving gangs of civilians.