Bozidar D. Benedikt, almost entirely dedicated himself to penning fiction, 20-novels (at least), largely for distribution in the former Yugoslavia, then turned writer/director for Beyond the 7th Door a sort of 1987 Canuxploitation thriller (according to some critics), even the IMDb states it’s of the horror genre, far from it. Although this flick thoroughly obscure, and extremely low-budget, likely lived most of its life buried a VHS dust bin, but thanks to Intervision Picture Corp. issued a DVD with a few extras well worth investing some time to view. A trivial note, Benedikt later directed and wrote a few other films, including The Graveyard Story (1991) and the term Canuxploitation meaning Canada and exploitation, though perhaps only in the most basic sense of the words, also the newer cover suggests a supernatural flick, which is farthest from the truth.
It starts with a character named Boris (Lazar Rockwood) who recently released from jail, wanting the straight and narrow path, but after meeting old girlfriend Wendy (Bonnie Beck) gets in touch he goes to see her, about a plan to steal ‘treasure’ from a home of crippled millionaire Lord Breston (Gary Freedman, his only film credit). At first Wendy not fully on board but eventually convinced and she gets the keys to the castle home, and likely location of the riches, they break in at night, even after the keys fail. However once inside nothing goes right, Breston ready for the intruders, his voice echoing through the loudspeaker and arranged six chambers and seven doors but if they survive, the richness of life awaits them. A subterranean maze set up contains a series of traps resulting in death if certain puzzles are not solved in a timely manner, yes it sounds like an early version of Cube or Saw. The banter between Boris and Wendy continues, revealing moments of their past relationship. The rooms of danger involve solving safe code, riddles, a ceiling lowering with spikes, reminiscent of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984), and then a coded floor similar to The Goonies (1985). Boris actions a cross between MacGyver and Inspector Gadget with his trusty toolbelt fill with everything possible he’ll need for the mission. Wendy finds herself trapped in a basement room filling with water and needing to strip clothing off to stuff into spigots to stop the water – got to see it, a tad hilarious. Once the water recedes Boris climbs down to aid her, and basically begins to make love to her to warm her back up, oops it fades to black. The flick the gives a few treats and twists, but many of the traps have moments to them, but contain see it before mentality. However, the film contains a secret message involving the number ‘7’ a spiritual number with such connections to Seven Footprints to Satan or Seven Steps to Heaven, extending deadly sins or seven steps of Scientific Methods, similar to the traps. Observation, research the setup, form the guess attempt it, record the success, a conclusion and then replicate with the next problem.
The rooms far from epic, but at least somewhat interesting but Benedikt uses his limited budget to the best of abilities, especially lucking to the usage of the exteriors of the millionaire’s home film at the Castle Loma. As for the acting, its rough, tad amateurish, the lack of development in the characters hurts overall but it works to some degree. Noting the colorization does lack severely and looks very poor compared to today’s standards, but again shows the low production value of these forgotten films.
An entertaining low-budget effort, dealing with life and death dilemmas, and spiritual implications of the number seven and allowing the viewers to return to an era far before cell phones and enjoy something a tad different.
IMDb Rating: 6.2/10
Baron’s Rating: 5.5/10