The Pale Door (2020)
December 19, 2020 10:23 AM - Subscribe

After a train robbery goes bad, two brothers leading a gang of cowboys must survive the night in a ghost town inhabited by a coven of witches.

Available streaming in the US via Shudder.
posted by DirtyOldTown (4 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I wonder if they thought they were making something like Bone Tomahawk. It doesn't have that level of brutality. It's really closer to From Dusk 'Til Dawn remade as a western. But it's not that funny. I didn't like the bulk of the characters enough to make the sort of straight path they took actually work.

The witch characters are kinda thinly drawn and their sudden flip to murderous burned succubi--while cool-looking--slammed the door on that getting any better.

Brenda Bertie Johnson was the one character who really grabbed me: explaining why two brothers couldn't join the gang (she had a menage a trois with them then robbed them blind; stopping mid-robbery to sample a guy's flask; plopping down into a guy's lap to flirt mid monologue.) And they burned her at the stake.

It maybe sounds like I hated this. Really I just hoped to love it and merely found it not bad.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:46 AM on December 19, 2020

I watched this last night. I agree with the criticism that the witches could have used some more character development/better plotting. It made no sense that they'd be so very vicious. The outlaws, while not good men, had just rescued and returned one of their own.

I also didn't hate it -- it was just lacklustre as to its writing, and meh in terms of emotional reasonance.
posted by orange swan at 10:00 AM on December 20, 2020

It made no sense that they'd be so very vicious.

Right? Also, if they're straight-up evil and "untainted blood" can sustain them for years, why go to the trouble to fight an armed hang of killers to get one guy? Just kidnap a kid and be done with it.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:30 PM on December 21, 2020

I don’t disagree with any of the criticisms above, but something I liked about this was how varied the witchy action was. Waking up on the ceiling, doppelgängers exploding into flocks of crows, crows emerging from various orifices... I’m just glad the witches were having a good time with it.

I also liked seeing Melora Walters and Zachary Knighton having fun with atypical roles for them, the implication that witches look normal and it’s only the burning that makes them look monstrous, and the banging song at the end of the credits.

Wouldn’t necessarily recommend it to my friends, but I enjoyed watching it.
posted by ejs at 3:31 PM on December 21, 2020

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