Based on the bestselling novel Die Damalstuer by Akif Pirincci (Germany’s equivalent of Stephen King) The Door follows successful artist David Andernach (Mads Mikkelsen) who seemingly has the perfect life; he has a beautiful wife and child and lives in a large home in an affluent suburb. However one day when he’s meant to be looking after his daughter Leonie (Veleria Eisenbart) whilst his wife Maja (Jessica Schwarz) is working; he decides to pay a visit to his neighbour and mistress Gia (Heike Makatsch) instead of taking his daughter out into the forest to catch butterflies. When he returns he finds that Leonie is nowhere to be seen and soon discovers that she has drowned in their pool.

Cut to five years later and we see David as a broken man who’s desperate for forgiveness from Maja, who he is now divorced from, and unable to paint. With no hope of being able to overcome his overwhelming grief he attempts to commit suicide in the same pool that his daughter drowned in but he’s rescued by a friend. When he leaves his company David is lead to a hidden tunnel by a butterfly that transports him five years in the past to the day his daughter died. He manages to avert the tragedy but soon finds things are far from as simple as they seem.

Going back and altering moments of your past is something that I imagine would appeal to a lot of people, particularly those who have suffered a tragedy such as our protagonist here. I mean we’ve all done stuff we’re not proud of right? Wouldn’t things be so much better if we stopped them from happening? It’s the core concept of The Door that makes it such an effective film, it’s easy to place yourself in the protagonist’s shoes and think about how you would approach the situation. With this being a thriller with supernatural elements it’s clear from the outset that there are consequences to altering your past and that ultimately these moments are what make you the person that you are no matter how painful that realisation is.

The fact that David is so easily relatable and that we as an audience are able to sympathise with him despite him being the master of his downfall is largely down to a very solid performance by Mads Mikkelsen who delivers a layered and classy performance that never gets too showy. He has to portray two versions of the same person both of whom need to show elements of character development and he’s never less than completely convincing.

By and large the film as a whole is brilliantly cast with kudos going to the young Valeria Eisenbart in her role as Leonie. She switches from carefree young girl to detatched and suspicious with no problem at all. Heike Makatsch shows a similar range of emotions and development as Mikkelsen and is very strong in the supporting role.

The film is at its best when it’s exploring the relationships between the core characters and how David, desperate to make amends, will go to great lengths to rectify and cover up the mistakes of his past at any cost. There’s a decent build of tension at times that could be described as Hitchcock like at times; partly as a result of Fabian Romer’s score which takes influence from Bernard Herrmann. However the film primarily is about human relationships and not taking the things you hold dear for granted.

It perhaps loses steam in the final third where it attempts to pay off the supernatural thriller aspects and tie up a lot of loose ends but overall it remains an extremely well made and interesting film with a number of great performances. As such The Door is an easy film to recommend to fans of European cinema and the thriller genre. It’s not a film that I would have necessarily sought out had it not been for review purposes but it’s certainly one that I’m glad that I have seen and one that will stick with me for quite some time.

Extras include; Behind the scenes feature, Interviews with cast and crew, deleted scenes and a theatrical trailer.